BY MARTIN WALSH
WELL-KNOWN Courtmacsherry farmer and journalist John Sexton was presented with a framed certificate to mark his honorary life membership of the IFA by its national president Tim Cullinan, who made a whistle-stop tour of Co Cork last week.
The brief ceremony, at John’s home in Sunview, Courtmacsherry, was attended by many of his farming friends and members of the IFA, including fellow local Harold Kingston, the current Munster regional chair. The presentation, in recognition of his outstanding, loyal and long service to the IFA, had been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Three years ago, John Sexton received the Hall of Fame award at the West Cork Farming Awards, run by The Southern Star and the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery. This recognised his wider contribution to agriculture and the community through other organisations as well, including Macra na Feirme and the local and National Ploughing Association. John has written the Courtmacsherry Notes for The Southern Star for the past 62 years and contributed various articles on farming and rural affairs.
In his introduction, Harold Kingston spoke glowingly of John Sexton’s contribution, saying: ‘You have been more than a neighbour to the IFA, the service you have done and not just for the IFA, but also for the community, has already been recognised when you received the Paddy Fitzgerald award a number of years ago. It is also an honour for the Barryroe branch (of the IFA) for a member to get this award and it’s very appropriate when we have Tim (Cullinan), when he is in this area, to make the presentation.’John was accompanied by his wife, Betty, and two members of their family, daughters Rosemary and Elizabeth.
Betty’s contribution was also highlighted during the morning presentation as IFA president and north Tipperary native Tim Cullinan commented: ‘I am delighted on behalf of the IFA to be making this presentation to you. One of the key strengths of the IFA is that all of us are voluntary people; we work with executives in the association and that’s what has built the association over the years. It is great that we are able to recognise volunteers.’
Responding, John Sexton wittingly commented, ‘Anyone would nearly think in the current trend of events that it was probably my funeral that ye are attending!’ He added: ‘I am very grateful to ye all and to the IFA for this honour. I have gone though many ordeals over the past 50 or 60 years.
‘I appreciate the many times I set out in the morning heading for some place in Tipperary for a meeting and leaving family at home; this is one of the rewards you appreciate. I am in the autumn of my years now and, having gone away from all the activity of the organisation (IFA), I hope that things will continue to improve and work on for the future and every good luck to you all.’