Mayo's Shane contesting Macra elections
A MAYO Macra member is bidding to become one of three vice-presidents of the national rural youth organisation.
Shane Quigley (29) from Snugboro in Castlebar was on the hustings in the McWilliam Park Hotel in Claremorris last Monday night as he goes head to head with a Leitrim candidate for the northwest region position.
Shane is no stranger to elections. This time last year he was heading to the States to work on his brother-in-law's campaign for a seat on the US Congress. He spent eight weeks in Roanoke, Virginia, supporting Peter Volosin's bid to win the Democrat nomination.
Peter sought a fresh start - 'a revitalised local economy driven by small businesses and farms', so Shane was a natural fit to help drive the campaign.
Eight years after being a founder member of Castlebar Macra, Shane is the only Mayo candidate in the Macra elections, which take place in April. He's bidding to win the seat being vacated by fellow Mayo member Sharon Corcoran.
In eight years Shane has built up an impressive CV. He's the Mayo rep on the national council and sits on the national rural youth and transport policy committees. He's also held lots of roles at club and county level, from PRO to secretary, treasurer to chairperson, and lots in between.
Shane admits when he went to his first Macra meeting he didn't know what he was signing up to. “I was convinced to fill out the form and I haven't looked back since. It was the best thing I have ever done.”
Macra is not an organisation just for farmers. There's a 50/50 divide on members who come from actual farms. “It's more a rural youth organisation, though we do provide a voice for young farmers,” says Shane.
With friends all over the country as a result of his membership, Shane has had great opportunities to travel through Macra, visiting the European Parliament in Brussels and also Latvia, having won a leadership award, and Finland, for the Rural Youth Europe seminar last year.
If elected vice-president, listening to members concerns and voicing them at the top table will be a key priority for Shane. His campaign is based on one simple word – EARS: Encouraging members to use their membership and get more out of it, promoting new and existing competitions and social events; Awareness – raising the profile of what Macra is all about and linking in with other youth groups, such as Foróige; Representing the region on the national council, where, he admits, he's not afraid to share his opinion; and Supporting clubs with their activities, issues and training.
Farm safety is another priority for Shane who was involved in organising the Mayo leg of the Embrace tractor run last year, in memory of those who have died in agri accidents. Poignantly, en route to the National Ploughing Championships, people who have lost a loved one were invited to place a pair of wellies in the tractor's transport box. Thirty-two counties later it was full, an image, he said, which brought the sad reality of farm deaths home.
One of his ideas to address the issue is for farmers to visit each others farms and cast a 'fresh eye' over their property and pick out hazards they might have missed.
Shane, who is son of Phil and the late Vera Quigley, Snugboro, when he's not involved in Macra activities, is a keen darts player. He plays for the Castle Inn and has also played for Mayo, picking up a national title in 2016.
In his day job you'll find him working at the Centre for the Unemployed on Tucker Street.
And his pledge if elected: “I think the northwest in a region with some amazing clubs and counties already, but we have so much potential to develop further, and I will do everything I can to make that happen.”
Meet Macra event
A number of Meet Macra events are taking place around Mayo. Castlebar Macra will hold their information event on Friday, March 22, in Hogs Heaven at 7.30 p.m.
People aged 17 to 35 who have an interest in joining Macra, or none, are invited to come along and see what it's all about.
For more information or to get in touch with the club, check out the Castlebar Macra page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/macracastlebar/).