Laois set to lead the troops at ‘The Rally’

Laois Macra members officially launched the 2014 Macra Annual Conference recently in the Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise.
Laois set to lead the troops at ‘The Rally’

The conference, which is better known as ‘The Rally’, will take place over three days throughout the October bank holiday weekend.

Thousands of Macra members will descend on the county to participate in The Rally, which will include an environmentally-themed agricultural conference on Saturday, October 25, as well as the finals of a number of national Macra competitions.

A wide array of bands will be performing in the hotel over the weekend, including Transmitter, The Afters, Deuces Wild, Ruaile Buaile and The Little Fiddle.

Macra members will also attend a fancy dress night on Friday, October 24.

This year’s conference will mark the 70th anniversary of Macra na Feirme, and is jointly sponsored by WR Shaw New Holland tractor sales and Glanbia, with representatives of both companies addressing members at the recent launch.

Billy Shaw, the managing director of WR Shaw, said he has fond memories of his own time in Macra in Co Laois, saying it provided with him a start he “never forgot”.

Martin Keane, the vice chairman of Glanbia, also addressed members, giving credit to Macra na Feirme and its emphasis on personal development for the continued success of Glanbia on a national and international scale.

Mr Keane said he could list at least 100 people who hold senior roles within Glanbia who benefited from the confidence obtained from Macra membership earlier in life, adding that many successful rural businesses and business people owe a great debt of gratitude to Macra na Feirme.

Macra national president Kieran O’Dowd also spoke at the launch, thanking both sponsors for their continued support, adding that he was reluctant to tell Mr Shaw that his own father was a Massey Ferguson dealer in his native Sligo.

Mr O’Dowd also welcomed Seán Fleming, TD, and Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council John Joe Fennelly, as well as three Macra past presidents Hugh Ryan, Padraig Walshe, and Michael Gowing.

Mr O’Dowd said it was “great to see The Rally come to a county with a great Macra tradition”, adding that it will be his final Rally.

A range of ticket options will be available, including a weekend package for €35 as well as a conference package.

Information can be found on Facebook on the Macra Annual Conference/Rally page, on Twitter @MacraConference, or by emailing

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