Three outstanding Macra na Feirme members have been presented with National Leadership Awards.

Sponsored by ABP Food Group, the awards recognise the leadership skills of Macra members within their clubs and the wider community. The winners were announced at a special reception in the Castleknock Hotel in Dublin.

Patrick McCarthy of Caheragh Macra, Carbery, Co Cork; Cara O’Mahony of Naas Macra, Co Kildare; and James Barber of Rathdowney Macra, Co Laois, were the big winners.

Patrick is a dairy farmer from Ballydehob in West Cork. He graduated from Darrara Agricultural College in 2005 and spent part of his time in college on placement in New Zealand.

He is a member of Caheragh Macra in Carbery since 2006. He has been club chairperson, PRO, secretary, and treasurer in this time. He was also elected secretary of Carbery in 2009.

In 2014, he was elected as Carbery’s national council representative and served two years in that position. He also served on Macra’s agriculture affairs committee including a year as vice-chairperson.

Cara, a primary school teacher from Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny, has been living and teaching in Naas, Co Kildare, since 2012.

She co-founded Naas Macra in 2014 and was elected chairperson. She has taken on numerous roles within the organisation at both local and national level and has been the national council representative for Kildare since 2014. She was also elected to the national executive last May.

Since 2015, she has held the position of chairperson of the rural youth committee, which is a diverse and enjoyable role.

James, a dairy farmer from Rathdowney Co Laois, has been a member of Rathdowney Macra na Feirme since 2005 and has held the positions of PRO, secretary, and chairperson within the club. 

He was awarded the Stephen Cullinan scholarship in 2009, which included a nine-month work placement on a 690-cow dairy farm in Canterbury, New Zealand.

He is the current national council representative for Laois Macra. He was also involved in setting up Clough Macra. He is currently the national agricultural affairs chairperson.

Deirdre Kennedy, Sligo Town Macra; Padraig O’Driscoll, Kilmeen Macra, Carbery, Cork; and Colm Taylor of Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra, South Tipperary; were also shortlisted.

Macra na Feirme national president Seán Finan congratulated the winners, adding: “This competition recognises the hard work and commitment of our young leaders who play a major role in our organisation and who often go on to hold positions in other national organisations.”

This year’s finalists were judged by a panel including Elaine Farrell, Oireachtas liaison executive at the Irish Farmers Association; Seán Eustace, former Macra na Feirme president 1975 to 1977; and Steve Hardcastle of ABP Food Group

The three winners were presented with specially commissioned commemorative trophies.


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