I was raised on a small dairy and pig farm in north Monaghan and was always surrounded by agriculture. My mother did a lot of the milking, as well as raising five children. After completing my Leaving Cert, I went to work with Ulster Bank and my first post was to Donegal town, followed by a five year stint in Ardee, Co Louth.

When I eventually got posted back to Clones in 1986, I married my neighbour and local dairy farmer, Paddy Rafferty. I ended my banking career in 1990 when my eldest daughter Denise was born.