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.