Enterprising livestock exporter and unsung hero of Irish society
MICHAEL McMonagle, who died earlier this year, was a man who can best be described as "an unsung hero" of Irish society. Born in Enniskillen in 1933, Michael attended Castleknock College in Dublin from where he went into the family livestock exporting business. He later founded his own livestock exporting company, selling Irish cattle throughout Yorkshire successfully until the trade faded from the Irish commercial landscape.
He served for many years as a board member and later as chairman of the Irish Livestock Exporters and Traders Association, which he led with distinction. As a man of vision, he was ever anxious to improve the profile of the livestock business while advocating efficiencies at all levels. As a representative and leader, he was always seen by government ministers, the trade and by Department of Agriculture officials as a man of integrity. His viewpoints were always respected and, more often than not, acted upon. Michael was a professional salesman to all and in all he did -- a gift he was aware off and which he developed.
When the government introduced its now infamous 2 per cent levy on livestock exports in the late Seventies, it was Michael, on behalf of the trade, who challenged the act through the courts and won. He was the obvious candidate to challenge the government on this case, as his business ethics were unquestionable through his record-keeping, which showed the courts, beyond all doubt, that the levy helped to diminish his business and that of many others in the livestock exporting trade. This "thoughtless levy" was deemed illegal, but it certainly helped to remove the benefits and value which livestock exports gave the Irish economy in darker days.
Michael was a prominent and effective member of Alcoholics Anonymous, a fellowship whose principles he espoused and lived by for almost 45 years. By the fellowship and his own personal grit, he overcame "the demon", a discipline which was prominent in everything he did, both in his business and loyalty at fellowship meetings. The numbers whom he helped along the road to recovery are countless, a body of people who will always gladly say: "Michael helped me."
His wife Vera, his best friend and soul mate for more than 50 years, survives him as do his sons, Michael and Marc, grandsons Adam and Ross, his brother Maurice and his daughters-in-law Wanda and Gemma. Michael gave so much to others and wanted little in return.