Saturday 1 October 2016

Engineer vows to work to advance cause of young farmers as he's elected Macra na Feirme's 35th president

Published 07/04/2015 | 18:19

Macra na Feirme presidential candidates (l-r): Eamon Cassells (Meath), Paddy Delaney (Laois), Sean Finan (Roscommon) and Michell O'Callaghan (Cork).
Macra na Feirme presidential candidates (l-r): Eamon Cassells (Meath), Paddy Delaney (Laois), Sean Finan (Roscommon) and Michell O'Callaghan (Cork).

Roscommon engineer Seán Finan has vowed to work to advance the cause of young farmers after being elected the 35th president of Macra na Feirme.

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Mr Finan secured the top job at the helm of the 5,000-member organisation in the third count of a tight contest this afternoon, beating Cork woman Michelle O’Callaghan.

The 31-year-old from Castlerea in Co Roscommon studied civil engineering in NUI Galway and has been working as a project manager in the construction industry with John Sisk, while also farming part-time with his father and brothers on the family drystock cattle farm in Ballinalough.

He will now work fulltime in the Macra job for the two-year term which involves representing young farmers as well as developing the social and networking activities of Macra.

Mr Finan said that with booming exports and the ending of dairy quotas it was an exciting time for young farmers.

“It’s still the case that there are more farmers over 80 than there are under 35, so it’s a challenging time as well,” he said.

Initiatives such as the land mobility programme which matched older farmers with land with young farmers who wanted to lease it were important to this, and securing full drawdown of Common Agricultural Policy funds and good educational opportunities were vital.

The social side of Macra was also extremely important and it now had branches in many urban centres including Dublin, Limerick and Cork, offering sports, social and performing arts activities as well as opportunities to foster young leadership talent.

Mr Finan is the outgoing vice president of Macra with responsibility for the northwest and is also treasurer.

He takes over as president from Sligo man Kieran O’Dowd whose wife Caroline O’Dowd was elected vice President for the North West. Odile Evans was elected as Leinster vice-president and Gerard Griffin was elected for the Munster position.

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