Farm Ireland

Wednesday 23 August 2017

'IFA needs women's input,' says Healy

Grain farmer Helen Harris on her farm in Co Kildare
Grain farmer Helen Harris on her farm in Co Kildare
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

Women would bring "fresh insight and common sense" to top positions within the Irish Farmers' Association, president Joe Healy has said.

Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Co Offaly, the father of three daughters admitted that more female voices are needed within the organisation.

His comments followed a frank and open discussion on the role of women in agriculture at the Farming Independent tent during last week's festivities.

Panellist and author Lorna Sixsmith criticised the IFA for having "old boys club" traditions. Meanwhile, tillage farmer and writer Helen Harris said women are "absolutely under-represented" within the IFA.

"The farm family committee is headed by a woman but unfortunately there is a lack of women on the other committees."

"When I was on the farm business committee, there was a woman on it and she brought a great practicality and that's what we need," said Mr Healy.

The Galwegian, who was the first IFA candidate to have a female campaign manager during a presidential election, encourages all farm women interested in an official position to take action.

"I feel very strongly that there are openings there for women in the IFA and I think they bring an awful lot of common sense to the organisation," he said.

Irene McKiernan, winner of the Corrib Oil's Lady Farmer of the Year award, said women tend to be more organised about business inside the farm gate.

"The biggest advantages of having a woman on the farm are communication and organisation. Women look at things differently, if they know there is paperwork to be done, they'll get it done, they won't let it linger," she said.

Indo Farming