Over 350 farmers, many from Inishowen, attended the first nationwide meeting of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) in Letterkenny last week.
The meeting was held after the association elected an interim national committee to oversee the development of the organisation over the next year.
The first Chair of the INHFA is Brendan O Malley from Galway with Michael McDonnell (Mayo) elected secretary and the treasurer is Sean Moran (Mayo).
Henry O’Donnell from Inishowen has been elected Public Relations Officer, the assistant Chair is Joe Condon (Tipperary).
Chairperson Mr Brendan O Malley stated that the two immediate priorities for the organisation are the issues regarding land eligibility and a workable GLAS .
Last Thursday’s meeting was addressed by Mr Lorcan O’Toole from the Golden Eagle Trust who gave a presentation on the importance of the survival of the hill farmers for rural communities. A presentation was also given by Mr. Fergal Monaghan on how the GLAS environmental scheme is going to work.
INHFA members then gave a presentation on their vision for the organisation in the future. The organisers of the Donegal meeting said they are “overwhelmed by the support they are being shown by farmers everywhere with new members flocking to them daily wishing to get involved.”
Other regional meetings are currently being set up to launch the organisation nationwide, including in Connemara and Galway.
County and Regional Committees will, over the next two weeks, elect interim officers to oversee the running of these meetings and the development of the organisation in their county/region.
The organisation confirmed that the INHFA website, which is presently under construction, will also soon be available to accept membership on line.