Croom,Limerick Macra News

xmas-treeAs 2008 comes to a close, I look back on a very eventful and productive year for Macra. At a National level, the organisation had a very successful three days at the National Ploughing Championships in Cuffesgrange, Co. Kilkenny. The Rally in the Salthill Hotel, Galway was strongly attended my Limerick members and credit is due to the Galway organising committee. Limerick Macra are already anticipating Bantry ’09, the venue for the next Rally. 2008 has been a very busy and exciting year for Limerick Macra. The Calendar girls raised €34,000 for the Limerick/Tipperary Samaritans through the sales of their fabulous calendar. It is actually hard to believe we won’t be turning another page to see a glamorous Limerick lady posing on that famous Rathkeale farm. The number of entries into all competitions was up this year and as a result of this, Limerick’s talented members really did themselves proud at national level. Many national trophies are currently sitting proudly on the fireplaces of numerous Shannonside homes. Limerick took gold in Beef Stockjudging, Impromtu debating and Macra vision and at the Munster level Limerick achieved success in disco dancing and set dancing. All of our clubs are thriving. Existing clubs include Kilmallock, Ballylanders, Boher (10 years in existence in ’08) NewCastleWest, Shannonside (Adare area) and during this year, a new club in Croom was established.

The club structure is at the heart of Macra Na Feirme in Limerick and young people from across the county love attending club events, socialising and developing new skills. Sport is a key area of the Macra programme in Limerick. Everyone club trains weekly for the county tournaments. The sports that clubs are involved in are indoor soccer, basketball, volleyball, tag rugby. The wonderful thing about Macra is it doesn’t matter what your level of ability or experience, everyone is given a chance to play and learn the skills in an environment that the young people themselves decide. It is important to stress how vital the members are to Macra, it is the members that run their own clubs and decisions are made through an elected committee who look after the day to day running of the club. Thank you to all the dedicated officers at club level and county level who give so generously of their time and energy to make a brilliant experience for everyone in Limerick. Club members in Limerick are renown on a national level for their drive and eagerness to grow and challenge themselves.

In the last few months, Limerick Macra members have undertaken an exciting project which Limerick. This competition is ‘Capers’. ‘Capers’ involves the development and performance of a light entertainment variety show. Up to 15 members can participate and we have formed a rainbow group which comprises of people from all Limerick based clubs. Rehearsals will continue during the festive season as the National semi finals will take place in early January. Our show consists of singing, dancing, comedy acts, choral etc. The very best of luck to all participants.

Limerick members also availed of the excellent travel opportunities during ’08, which Macra HQ organises. Trips were taken to the Alps for a skiing adventure, Las Vegas, Heidelburg (Germany) etc.

In Macra Na Feirme’s role as a social partner, the organisation has campaigned on a broad number of issues of relevance to young farmers and rural young people such as the WTO deal, Stamp Duty and Stock Relief along with continuing to campaign on Installation Aid and the Early Retirement Scheme. At the AGM in Carlow we introduced another key area of activity, Community Involvement, along with adopting new Child Protection Procedures. Know Your Neighbour Weekend, ran for the third year in 2008 and was again, a huge success and brought recognition to Macra na Feirme right around the country.At National Council level, Macra will continue to work hard representing the interests of all members as we go forward into 2009.

Macra na Feirme national president Catherine Buckley is calling on farm families to remain vigilant when it comes to farm safety over the holiday period. ‘A lot of farm families may have guests over the Christmas period who are not used to the potential dangers on farms so it is very important that farm families remain vigilant and ensure the safety of people this Christmas’ she said.Animals are now the highest cause of serious injuries and lost work days on farms and the months of December, January and March witness the highest number of animal related injuries as farmers are in contact with animals daily in farm yards. Last week the Farm Safety Action Plan 2009-2012 was launched on Thursday followed by HSA/Teagasc Agri-wellness Seminar. Macra has had a key input into this booklet and is a lead organisation in some of the key goals in the plan. The booklet was compiled by The Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee and the HSA with the aim of promoting awareness and trying to reduce the number of Farming related accidents and deaths.

I would like to thank you all for your enthusiasm and commitment to the organisation in 2008. I would also encourage you all to become as involved as possible in your club and county’s programme of events in the coming months. Remember, new members are always welcome. So why not join something new in ’09 which doesn’t cost much at all but involves alot of fun.

Beannachtai na Nollag agus na hAthbhliana! Limerick Macra would like to wish all its members and friends a very Happy Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.

Lisa Cahill 

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