A STRONG turnout of officers and former officers of the three IFA executives in Cork county converged on the organisation’s office in Bishopstown on Friday afternoon last.
They had come to bid farewell to Sean Clarke, who was on his last day in a job where he had served the farmers of Co. Cork for 32 years. Sean, a native of Co. Monaghan, began working for the IFA in 1988. After a short stint as Development Officer for the combined counties of Dublin and Meath, he was transferred to Cork where the county had recently been divided into three executives, North, Central and West.
In the years that followed, Sean became well known to farmers the length and breadth of Cork county. There were many different aspects to Sean’s job as Development Officer. In addition to the day to day running of the association in the county, as well as organising and attending meetings and other events, a major amount of work needed to be done whenever protests and demonstrations were decided upon at national level.
But, as well as advancing the interests of farmers in a public way, there was also a less obvious side to Sean’s work. That was the time and effort which he devoted to helping individual farmers with their own problems, much of it related to their dealings with officialdom.
Sean eventually married a Cork girl and became as much a Corkonian as any native of the county.
In several speeches at the event outside the IFA office on Friday last, there were many reminisces of incidents which occurred over the years and warm tributes were paid to Sean for his dedication to the interests of farmers. The Director General of the IFA, Damien McDonald was present and Sean’s wife, Mary, and family also attended.
West Cork was well represented and Sean was very impressed with the presentation which he received from West Cork IFA. Presented by chairman, Donal O’Donovan from Dunmanway, it was a fused glass piece which featured the fuchsia, the symbol of West Cork.
Specially created by Inspired Glass of Gortnagrough, Ballydehob, it also contained the IFA logo and the county colours of both Cork and Monaghan.
The inscription acknowledged Sean’s long and devoted service to farmers.