In April, Macra members will elect a national president for the 2015 to 2017 term, as well as vice presidents in the Munster, North West, and Eastern regions.
The final hustings took place last night in Navan, Co Meath, with the candidates also meeting the electorate in Cork, Limerick, Kilkenny, Mayo, and Leitrim.
Presidential hopefuls Eamon Cassells from Athboy, Co Meath; Paddy Delaney from Timahoe, Portlaoise; Seán Finan, from Castlerea, Co Roscommon; and Michelle O’Callaghan, of Knockraha, Co Cork; all had a chance to speak directly to members outlining the details of their campaigns.
Among Eamon’s hopes is to continue the advancement and expansion of competitions and develop their use as a promotional tool and an income stream through sponsorship.
He would also like to engage more with the general public in promoting positive farming stories and continue the good work of Macra’s Rural Youth Committee. Eamon would also like to see the introduction of mental health officers in each county and the introduction of a testicular cancer awareness programme.
Paddy aims to drive on the Land Mobility programme and investigate creating links between Teagasc Research Centres and YFDGs. He hopes to increase membership and the percentage of young farmers affiliated to Macra and promote farm safety.
He would also like to see Macra develop a mental health strategy to compliment much of the other work that has been done by clubs, counties, and regions to date, and would continue to promote and develop the Macra travel programme.
Seán would also like to further improve Young Farmer Development Groups and strengthen and extend the Land Mobility Service. He would also like to provide practical training courses for young farmers.
He would also lobby on rural youth issues nationally and on a European level as well as develop rural youth policies based on members’ needs.
He would offer leadership, lobbying and media training to enrich members’ personal development and ability to represent the organisation.
Michelle hopes to promote the personal wellbeing of members by connecting, being active, taking notice, learning and giving, and also advocate and work with other rural organisations to ensure that services such as high-speed broadband are accessible and available to all rural young people.
She would also emphasise farm progression options and promote collaborative farming structures as a real solution to address land access and pursue options for credit and financial supports for young farmers.
Leinster’s vice presidential candidates are Noel Duffy, Ferbane, Co Offaly; Odile Evans, Arklow, Co Wicklow; and Aoife Lanigan, Kilkenny.
Munster’s vice presidential candidate is Gerard Griffin, of Araglen, Fermoy, Co Cork, while the North West vice presidential candidates are Ray Gilmartin, Co Leitrim; and Caroline O’Dowd, Sligo.