Origins of Macra
Macra na Feirme was founded by a group of 12 agricultural advisers, rural science teachers and farmers 74 years ago, in 1944. The first headquarters of Macra na Feirme was located at the Town Hall, Athy, Co. Kildare and was opened by the President of Ireland, Sean T. O’Kelly, in September 1947.
Rural science teacher Stephen Cullinan was the first secretary of Macra na Feirme and the first editor of the Young Farmers Journal, which preceded today’s Irish Farmers Journal. Macra na Feirme was adopted as the official title of the organisation in December 1946. ‘Macra’ means stalwarts or the elite and ‘na Feirme’ means of the land.
Over 250,000 young people have passed through the ranks of Macra na Feirme since its inception. Much has changed since those early days. Today, young people have different priorities and need new challenges, which Macra actively provides to its members across all areas of activity.
The management and control of the organisation and the direction of its policy is the responsibility of the National Council. The National Council consists of a National Council Representative (NCR) from each county or Macra Region (31 NCRs), the current President, the ex-President, the three Vice Presidents, the Chief Executive Officer, an IFA Representative and Associate Member Representatives.
The National Council is responsible for four subcommittees, which include: National Executive; Competitions Committee; Agricultural Affairs Committee; and Rural Youth (RY). Each NCR is appointed to work on a sub-committee during their term on National Council. A number of co-optees, nominated by counties, are elected by National Council to each sub-committee.
The following is the mission statement of Macra na Feirme. It incorporates the overall purpose of the organisation, it identifies the key work which it undertakes and it refers to its key target groups which are designatedas 'young people who have a rural connection including young farmers' which is designed to specifically note the organisation's role with regard to young farmers while emphasizing its overall role in respect of all young people with a rural connection - both farmers and non-farmers.
The Mission of Macra na Feirme is to contribute to the sustainable development of rural communities in Ireland by supporting the social, economic, cultural, personal development and well-being of young people who have a rural connection including young farmers, by representing their interests in the development and implementation of relevant policies, programs and services at national, regional and local levels and by advocating on their behalf.
Past Presidents of Macra na Feirme
1947-48 William Bland (Laois)
1948-49 Dr Patrick Moran (Louth)
1949-51 William Bland (Laois)
1951-53 John Litton (Dublin)
1953-55 Patrick Quinlan (Cork)
1955-57 P. I. Meagher (Tipperary)
1957-59 Paddy Donnelly (Offaly)
1959-61 Rory Murphy (Wexford)
1961-63 Michael Owen Fogarty (Wicklow)
1963-65 Michael Noonan (Limerick)
1965-67 Hugh Ryan (Laois)
1967-69 Joe Rea (Tipperary)
1969-71 Kieran Curtin (Limerick)
1971-73 Declan Martin (Cork)
1973-75 Tommy Sheehan (Cork)
1975-77 Sean Eustace (Dublin)
1977-79 Seumas O’Brien (Carlow)
1979-81 Seamus Hayes (Tipperary)
1981-83 Flor Riordan (Cork)
1983-85 Richard Kennedy (Limerick)
1985-87 Thomas Shanahan (Kerry)
1987-89 Padraig Walshe (Laois)
1989-91 Laurence Fallon (Roscommon)
1991-93 Matt O’Keeffe (Kilkenny)
1993-95 William Gleeson (Wexford)
1995-97 Joe Healy (Galway)
1997-99 Tommy McGuire (Monaghan)
1999-01 T. J. Maher (Tipperary)
2001-03 Seamus Phelan (Kilkenny)
2003-05 Thomas Honner (Carlow)
2005-07 Colm Markey (Louth)
2007-09 Catherine Buckley (Cork)
2009-11 Michael Gowing (Laois)
2011-13 Alan Jagoe (Cork)
2013-15 Kieran O’Dowd (Sligo)
2015-17 Seán Finan (Roscommon)
Current President: James Healy (Cork)