Profile: He may be seen as an 'outsider' - but that worked to his advantage
Published 20/04/2016 | 02:30
It's over 20 years since Joe Healy first stepped onto the national stage as president of Macra na Feirme.
But in the intervening years, the third generation farmer, who milks 90 cows on the home farm in Athenry and also finishes cattle, has widened his wings.
The former All Ireland sheep shearer steadily built up the farm, which himself and his wife Margaret, a nurse manager, and daughters Nicole (15), Kiara (14) and Anna (11) call home. His mother Bridie also lives with them after his father Paddy, a famous Galway sheep breeder, passed away 11 years ago.
Described as a "very able person" and a "steady pair of hands", his support was clearly evident in the number of farmers who went to campaign for him.
He may be seen as an outsider as he is not on the IFA's national executive, but this appears to have worked to his advantage.
He was Macra president from 1995 to 1997. He went on to become the vice-president of the European Young Farmers association.
His weekly cattle and sheep marts column in the 'Farming Independent' was often critical of the meat processors and also carried many a sporting reference. In addition to being a former mart manager, he has taken a role on the IFA farm business committee and chaired the commonages appeals committee.
He was also elected a farmer board member of the Farmer Business Developments for which he got €3,595 after tax last year.