Macra: delivering for young people since the 1940s

A message from our President SEAN FINAN

It’s a great honour for me to write this article as a proud Roscommon Macra na Feirme man, as the 35th president of our wonderful organisation and to follow in the footsteps of another great Macra na Feirme man, Laurence Fallon, who served our organisation with distinction as the 22nd president from 1989-91.

  The significant milestone of 70 years was reached by the national organisation in 2014 with the first branches being established in Moincoin, Athy and Kilmallock in 1944. It was one year later in 1945, that our organisation was established in Co. Roscommon, with the first branch being founded in Athleague.

  We will be celebrating the successes of Macra na Feirme in Co. Roscommon by bringing past members, current members and friends of the organisation together for a Dinner Dance on Saturday, February 13, in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon.

  A few weeks ago, we launched our Dinner Dance and it was wonderful to meet and have Joe Murphy, one of the founding members of the Athleague branch, present. Joe vividly remembers his time in the organisation and it was great to hear his stories about the early days.

  In the 1940s our founding fathers’ vision for the organisation was to educate young farmers in the absence of a formal agricultural system. The organisation at that time set out about teaching young farmers the practical skills of farming, which equipped them with the knowledge to improve their farms, so as to be able to provide for their families.

  Our Constitution is very clear on the objectives of the organisation, which are: to assist in the personal development of rural youth, promote social and cultural education among rural youth of both sexes, provide opportunities for learning the skills and theory of farming, widen the interests of rural youth by increasing their store of general knowledge and encouraging leadership in preparation for responsible roles in farming and community associations.

  Roscommon members have strongly delivered on all of our objectives since our foundation, by encouraging young people across the county to take an active part in all of our competitions, activities and social events.

  Through active participation and social interaction, members develop themselves personally and are provided with life skills, which will stand to them in all aspects of their lives.

  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Roscommon members who have served at any level within the organisation since 1945 and have contributed immensely to the development and success of the organisation in Roscommon over the years. Members have been triumphant at national level, winning numerous All-Ireland titles, too many to mention.

  The county has also had its fair share of representatives at a northwest vice-presidential level, with no less than ten members serving in this role since our formation in County Roscommon in 1945.

  I would encourage all young people to consider joining the organisation. Whether you’re from a farming background or not, there is something there for you, from debating or public speaking to drama or sports. Maybe you would like to meet new friends and take part in our hectic social calendar.

  There really is something in Macra for everyone.

  The Dinner Dance would not be possible without the generous sponsorship received from the three livestock marts in the county – Castlerea, Elphin and Roscommon. I would to thank the management and boards of all the marts for their contributions. Past Macra na Feirme members down through the years were instrumental in the establishment of the marts and also in their running, with many board members learning their skills in Macra na Feirme.

  I will conclude by saying that I look forward to the remainder of my term as president, working with members to better themselves, by continuing to represent young farmers and rural youth as well as working and lobbying on the policy issues which affect us in our lives.

  Finally I would like to thank the staff at the Roscommon People for publishing this supplement on Roscommon Macra na Feirme and helping us to celebrate the success of our organisation. Thank you.

* Sean Finan from Ballinlough, Co. Roscommon is Macra na Feirme National President (2015-17).