An increase in active membership is one of the five goals included in Macra’s new five-year strategy.

The organisation launched the strategy at its AGM in Bantry, Co Cork, on Saturday. It wants to lift member numbers “including in those areas where the membership has been low historically and outreaching to connect with harder to reach target groups”.

The strategy centres on five goals – membership development, club development, member activities development, policy and advocacy, and organisational culture and development.

Tasked with implementing that strategy is a new presidential team, led by incoming Macra president Elaine Houlihan.

Commending her predecessor, John Keane, she said: “It is an absolute honour to become the 39th president of Macra, to continue on the path built by John and the other 37 great presidents before him.

“I am truly looking forward to the next two years as your national president. John has truly done an amazing job as the 38th national president.

“He started by leading us out of the most difficult time for our organisation and he finished off his time by leading us from Athy to Dublin to secure our future in rural Ireland.”

New board

The AGM also saw a new board put in place, with Cork pair Caroline O’Keeffe and William Buckley elected chair and treasurer, respectively. They are joined by Stephanie Blewitt from Limerick as secretary and Sarah Kelly from Offaly and Seán Kelly from North Tipperary as directors. John Keane and independent directors Maria Cox, David Fitzgerald and Noel Flavin, along with president Elaine Houlihan and vice-presidents Patrick Jordan (Leinster), Aishling O’Keeffe (Munster) and Robert Lally (Northwest) complete the board. Committee chairs were also elected and Clare’s Liam Hanrahan remains as chair of the agricultural affairs committee, with Galway’s Niamh Farrell chairing the rural youth committeee and Conor Murphy from Cork heading up competitions.