Over 200 guests, including EU commissioner Phil Hogan, attended an event last week in Brussels to bid farewell to the IFA’s Director of European Affairs, Michael Treacy who has stepped down from the role.
The Kildare man has served the IFA for over 25 years and is widely seen as a top lobbyist in the European political capital.
Treacy handed over the reins to Liam McHale in November, who joins the IFA from Bord Bia, where he has worked since 2006, first as Country Manager in Germany/Eastern Europe and more recently managing Italy, Switzerland and Greece.
From Ballina, Co Mayo, McHale is educated to Masters of Business Science level and speaks five continental languages, French, German, Italian, Czech and Portuguese, in addition to English.
Paying tribute to Michael Treacy, IFA President Eddie Downey said he had played an outstanding role in all IFA’s major European campaigns over the past 25 years. He has gained huge influence and respect in Brussels. “I am confident that Liam will quickly build his own profile in Brussels and ensure that Irish farmers continue to be strongly represented at the highest level.”
Michael Treacy had a major impact behind the scenes in protecting Irish farmers' interests, particularly in relation to the evolving Common Agricultural Policy during the various rounds of reform. He also maintained a very close eye on developments in the area of world trade rules, in order to protect the Irish farm family structure.
This week, Agri Aware launched its new 'Many Hats, One CAP' TV and cinema advert.
Produced by Traction Marketing, the advert is part of a wider campaign which aims to promote and showcase how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) affects everyday life in Ireland, whether that is subsidies paid to a farmer directly or the countless indirect knock-ons that keep rural Ireland alive.
The launch took place at Movies Dundrum, Dublin, on Thursday evening, where both the full and short versions of the advert where premiered for the first time on screen.
The ad itself follows a day in the life of a number of characters who make up the rural landscape in Ireland.
From clips of rural entrepreneur and chef Edward Hayden cooking up a storm in his Graiguenamanagh cookery school, to farmer Kevin Moran up before dawn in Galway to milk his dairy herd, it gives viewers a glimpse into the role the agri-food industry plays.
Agriculture is a huge economic multiplier, which keeps rural Ireland alive
At the premiere, there was a panel of guest speakers which included Agri Aware chair Alan Jagoe and three of the stars in the ad; Hayden, Moran and Teagasc researcher Dr Dayle Johnston.
Hosted by Marty Morrissey, the panel reiterated the point that agriculture is a huge economic multiplier, which keeps rural Ireland alive, and the CAP is central to that.
Alan Jagoe spoke of the huge work, time and spend going behind the campaign.
“It costs money to put it out there, but consumers and society need to know where their money is going and who they are supporting.
"There needs to be an understanding and respect for the production costs and efforts that go into food production,” he stressed.
2016 FBD young farmer of the year Kevin Moran made the point that CAP itself “is not just one thing – a subsidy for a farmer - it is much more than that; it’s an investment in food security, an investment in rural economies and this investment is invaluable to rural Ireland”.
'Many Hats, One CAP' is a 12-month public information campaign that will go live across TV, radio, cinema, social media and print over the coming weeks.