Farm Ireland

Friday 23 February 2018

Countdown to election of new Macra na Feirme President

Outgoing President of Macra Sean Finan. Photo: Damien Eagers
Outgoing President of Macra Sean Finan. Photo: Damien Eagers

Martin Ryan

The count down to the election of the 36th National President of Macra na Feirme is under way in a head to head contest to select the successor to Sean Finnan, with the new president-elect to take up office at the organisation AGM on May 5.

A Co. Cork based Production Supervisor, James Healy, and a News Reporter from Wicklow, Odile Evans, have completed the countrywide hustings in vie for the votes of the 300 branches, with completed ballot papers to be returned by 1pm on Tuesday, April 4.  

The results will be announced later that afternoon.

Odile Evans, who comes from Plattenstown, Arklow, and is a member of Johnstown/ Coolgreany Macra na Feirme Branch, holds an Honours Degree in Ag Science from UCD, and News Correspondent with the Irish Farmers Journa. 

She is the outgoing Regional Vice-President and currently National Treasurer and a member of the National Executive of Macra na Feirme.

She is bidding to become the second ever woman elected national president in the 73 year history of the organisation, to follow in the footsteps of Catherine Buckley (Cork), now wife of Michael Gowing, (Laois) who is also a former holder of the office of president. 

The couple have the distinction of being the only ever husband and wife, both to have held the office.

Odile is widely experienced internationally having been a delegate on the Minister for Agriculture’s Trade Mission to North Africa last November, the former recipient of a UCD Patrick Hogan Memorial Scholarship and engaged in Semester abroad in Kansas State University, she also engaged in building houses with Habitat for Humanity in Hungary, and is holder of a Gaisce Presidents Bronze Award.

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“As members of Macra we are afforded numerous opportunities that help us grow and develop. It encourages us to believe in ourselves. As President I will be a positive leader that is open minded and hard working. Let’s build together to make it a stronger organisation for all members” she told the electorate on the hustings."

James Healy, who is from Kilmartin, Donoughmore, is Production Supervisor with Wisetek and is occasionally engaged in farm relief work.  He is a founder member of the reformed Donoughmore club, twice winners of Club of the Year.

He has held office of Munster Vice President, National Competitions Vice-Chairperson, National Competitions Chairperson, National Executive member and Associate Representative on National Council.

He has told the members that “There is little doubt that joining Macra has played an influential part in me the individual I am today. Through my membership, I have gained much the opportunities provided and I want to make sure these and opportunities will continue to be available for all members into the future.

"For this to happen, We the members, must work together as a team to allow to grow and prosper. I firmly believe that my overall rounded experiences me with the key skills and attributes to serve as Macra President and to ensure our team works to the best of its abilities for the betterment of Macra na Feirme.”

While the weighting of the voting strength of voting is concentrated in the south, which should have benefit for James Healy, the ‘mna’ vote in the organisation is now almost half the membership, which should benefit Odile and she is a also geographically well positioned to benefit from voting in the more northern region.

In the election for three regional Vice-Presidents, Cara O’Mahony, Mountain View, Naas, Co. Kildare  will be declared the next Leinster Vice President being the only nominee, and Tom O’Donoghue, Crowhill Upper, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford will take over as Munster Vice President Candidate, being the only nomination received, while Sharon Corcoran, Rathkelly Close, Ballinrobe, Co.Mayo, and Brendan Curran, Gorvagh, Mohill, Co. Leitrim are contesting the election for North West Vice President.

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