The Macra Agricultural Skillnet Leaders of the Year Awards take place in the Castleknock Hotel next Tuesday evening at 7pm. Supported by ABP, the awards recognise the best young leaders in Macra na Feirme every year. Meet our finalists below.
Thomas is from Virginia Co. Cavan where he farms a 90-cow dairy herd in partnership with his mother and father, Ned and Kathleen.
He joined his local Macra na Feirme club, Ramor based in Virginia at 17. He served for two years as the Vice Chair of Agricultural Affairs Sub-Committee with special interest in policy formation where he was responsible for Macra's Afforestation Policy. Thomas was also involved in Macra’s CAP 2020 policy document.
He completed a degree in Sustainable Agriculture from Dundalk Institute of Technology before completing a Masters in Environmental Resource Management from UCD, specialising in Climate Change and its impact on Irish agriculture.
Personal successes include winning the Macra National Impromptu Debating Competition alongside sister Kaye and Grainne Reilly.
Steven Kelly is from Ferbane in Co. Offaly and has been a member of Macra na Feirme for over 10 years. Initially Steven joined UCD Macra while studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Science. He then went on to hold the positions of club secretary and Chairperson and UCD Macra enjoyed many successes under his leadership.
He has since held numerous roles in his home club of Ferbane/Banagher Macra and most recently completed a two year term as Chairperson of Offaly Macra where he is now currently County Development Officer. During his chairmanship of Offaly Macra Steven introduced the Offaly AIB/Macra Agri conference which is now running for its third year.
Steven currently works for Greenvale Animal feeds as Technical Sales rep dealing with wholesale accounts in Leinster and Munster.
Hailing from Co. Kilkenny, Josephine joined Callan Macra four years ago and has represented her club and county in a variety of competitions, especially public speaking and debating. Having recently completed two years as Kilkenny County Secretary, this year she has taken a step back from county executive to work on a Masters in Food, Nutrition and Health. However, she still holds the role of club competitions officer and continues to be involved with the Mr. Personality Festival and the Kilkenny Macra na Feirme Hurling and Camogie Competition.
Some of her Macra highlights include being involved in Callan Macra’s 70th Anniversary Celebrations, participating in and being crowned the 2018 International Miss Macra, coming runner up in the 2016 National Impromptu Public Speaking Final and of course being a finalist in the ABP Leadership Awards.
Siobhán Gallagher joined Macra three years ago and is a member of South Leitrim Macra. Currently PRO of North West Macra, Siobhán is on the committee of the North West Kings and Queens event which is celebrating its 12th year in January.
Siobhán has represented her club and county at Public Speaking, Bowling, Debating, Capers, and was a finalist of Best New Member competition in 2016.
Siobhán has been part of a number of events organised by South Leitrim, most notably the charity fundraiser held in May 2018 where in excess of €6,000 was raised for North West Hospice & Irish Cancer research.
Siobhán works as a Manager for Bank of Ireland – Elphin, Co.Roscommon and helped set up a Macra Club in the town.
Originally from Limerick, Marie has been living in Waterford for over six years.
She first joined Waterford City Macra when she moved to Waterford and soon after became Club Chairperson. During that time, she also became County Treasurer.
In 2016 she became Waterford NCR and in May 2017 was elected National Treasurer. Marie is currently in her second term as National Treasurer. It is a challenging but very enjoyable role.
Joining Macra has been of huge benefit to her especially in the area of personal development. Last year she completed the Macra na Feirme Skillnet Leadership for Young Professional Course.
Some of Marie’s Macra highlights to date have been, helping to organise club and county events and taking part in competitions such as drama, public speaking and sheep stock judging.
Hannah Driver is a very enthusiastic and active person. Currently working part time in Tullow Livestock Sales she spends the remainder of her busy week on the home farm. Hannah has graduated from Waterford IT with an Honours degree in Bachelor of Business and has recently completed a level 6 degree in Agriculture in Kilmuckridge Vocational College.
Since the age of 17 Hannah has been very involved in Tullow Macra club and has grown in her responsibilities within the club, such as recruiting new members and taking position of important roles including PRO and Secretary. It is evident that Hannah doesn’t shy away from using her leadership skills and this is also showed in her commitments to Girls Friendly Society where she is also a leader.