background image
Trump's neighbour wins FBD
Young farmer of the Year
Last month FBD, with the support of IFA and the National
Rural Network, sponsored Macra's Young Farmer of the
Year Awards. The farmer-owned insurance company has
now given fi nancial support to the Young Farmer Awards
for the past 21 years. This year's overall winner was Liam
Hanrahan, a dairy farmer from Kilrush, in County Clare,
close to President Trump's Doonbeg Golf Club. Liam holds
a PhD in Dairy Farm E ciency and has international farming
experience, having worked in New Zealand and France.
The Young Farmer of the Year is a member of Kilrush
Macra club. One of the new category awards, which is in
its second year, is the Biodiversity Farmer of the Year. It was
presented to Kilkenny farmer Alan Doyle by Philip Farrelly
of the National Rural Network (NRN). The award recognises
farmers who are encouraging biodiversity and protecting
the environment. Alan, who farms 170 breeding ewes and
25 suckler cows near the Backstairs Mountains, also picked
up the FBD Drystock Award on the night.
The quality of the fi nalists this year was excellent as John
Donoghue, CEO of IFAC, highlighted in his comments as
chairman of the adjudication panel: "Any of them could
come into an agri- business and add value."
The winner was presented with his award by Fiona
Muldoon, CEO of FBD. Fiona spoke warmly about FBD's
association with Macra na Feirme over a long number of
years. She is leaving her post as CEO of the organisation
late next year, having made a signifi cant contribution to
both FBD and the agricultural community.
The event was a `who's who' of the Irish agri sector. Macra
past presidents of the organisation turned out in force
out for the prestigious annual awards ceremony at the
Castleknock Hotel. Former president Thomas Honner, was
a member of the adjudication panel, which also included
Bridget Lynch of UCD, Justin McCarthy, editor IFJ and
John McCullen, a director of the FBD Trust. Also among
the guests were Joe Healy, President IFA, Pat McCormack,
President, ICMSA, Jerry long president of ICOS, Michael
Berkery, chairman of FBD Trust and Padraig Walshe,
chairman of Farmer Business Developments.
The compere for the evening was Matt O' Kee e, former
President of Macra and editor of Irish Farmers Monthly.
Youth Council highlights
rural youth issues
Public transport, employment and investment in
youth and mental health services are key issues for
young rural people. Those are the main fi ndings
contained in a new report compiled by the National
Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI). Limited public
transport is still one of the biggest challenges facing
young people living in rural Ireland today, hindering
access to a wide range of necessary services. The
qualitative study Youth Work in Rural Ireland explores
the experiences of youth workers and young people
in rural Ireland. The report by the NYCI which
represents organisations working with over 380,000
young people highlights the challenges facing
young people and those working with them and
recommends measures to enhance the provision of
youth services outside urban settings and to address
the needs of rural youth. As a member of the NYCI,
Macra na Feirme has been regularly highlighting
many of the issues contained in the recently
published report and has been active in running
a series of seminars across their club structure to
advise young farmers in particular on how to protect
their physical and psychological health. Isolation
and work induced stress are widely recognised as
signifi cant challenges for young farmers.
Broadband decision
taken at last
The long-awaited decision to begin a comprehensive programme
to deliver broadband services to hundreds of thousands of homes
and businesses across the country which cannot currently access
fast and a ordable broadband connections is welcome. Time will
tell as to whether it proves to be value for money. There has to be
some degree of concern given the fact that one of the country's
leading civil servants has been publicly critical of the anticipated
3 billion spend on the programme. There is little doubt, however,
that e cient broadband connectivity will give an economic
impetus to towns, villages and rural dwellers in the years ahead.
The sooner the programme is completed the better. While the cost
of the programme is clear, the long-term value will not become
evident for many years. Even anecdotal evidence, however, would
suggest that farms and other businesses including tourism related
enterprises will not be able to function unless they have the instant
communication and access to data that broadband o ers. Some
of the value will remain unquantifi able, including lifestyle as well
as developing technologies such as distance health and education
services. It is not so much what broadband access currently o ers
as what it will o er in the future as novel and often disruptive
technologies and as-yet unidentifi ed work opportunities are
developed in the coming years.