DRIMOLEAGUE farmer Abraham Kingston, from Meenies, represented the Cork West IFA region in the 2018 final of the Paddy Fitzgerald Award. This year’s winner was Michael Davoren, representing the Clare IFA Executive, who was instrumental in the founding of Burren IFA to provide an environmental scheme to protect one of the most sensitive farming areas in the country.
The award was presented at a dinner held in Adare, Co Limerick, recently and EU Commissioner Phil Hogan said it was an honour to attend the Awards, which were established by IFA members in Limerick in honour of the late Paddy Fitzgerald, who served as Munster vice-president and was also a founding member of FBD, which is marking 50 years in existence this year.
‘Travelling throughout Europe in my role as Agriculture Commissioner, I am struck by the fact that in every rural region of every EU member state, farmers are at the heart of volunteerism and community life. Paddy Fitzgerald’s spirit lives on in communities across Ireland, and indeed across the EU, and the nine nominees can be very proud of their immense contribution to rural life.’
IFA president Joe Healy said the Paddy Fitzgerald Awards represent the spirit of volunteerism and the selfless dedication of people to the betterment of their communities. ‘Each of the nine nominees had the honour of being chosen by their County Executive. The cornerstone of IFA’s work is the willingness of farmers to give of their time in representing their fellow farmers. It is only fitting that this should be recognised and I would like to thank FBD for their support for this prestigious event.’
FBD chairman Liam Herlihy said: ‘The late Paddy Fitzgerald worked unselfishly to better the life of farmers, first through his work with Macra in Co Limerick and then in the NFA and Cork Marts IMP.
‘We at FBD Insurance try to embody a bit of Paddy’s spirit by working closely with agricultural organisations the length and breadth of the land to make life better for farmers. We are working hard to reduce accidents on farms every day through our Farm Protect programme, but it is down to individuals to make changes and to encourage farmers to adopt best practice now in order to set a good example for the next generation of Irish farmers.’
The IFA’s Farm Business chairman, Martin Stapleton, who is the chairman of the Trustees, said the Paddy Fitzgerald Awards were an opportunity to celebrate those who put themselves forward on behalf of their neighbours and their communities.
‘Every rural community can point to achievements that would not be possible without people stepping up to make it a better place. The Paddy Fitzgerald Awards celebrates those who can say they left their mark,’ he said.