Unless you were living under a rock, you will be aware that the National Ploughing Championships were held recently in Ratheniska, Co Laois. The event itself was run with a precision that most militaries would envy and few could emulate.

There was an attendance over the three days of 277,000, and there is no doubt that the this was adversely affected by the deluge that came down on Thursday morning. That said, the rain was incapable of dampening the enthusiasm of the visitors to the Ploughing.

What the event brought home to me was that rural Ireland is not only alive, but kicking as well. Old friendships were renewed after a gap of three years, many new friendships were formed and there was an atmosphere of hope

In this atmosphere of hope, our new logo was launched by a member of ours, MEP Maria Walsh. The unveiling was held on the Wednesday evening at a social event that we always host. The social evening was well supported and attended.

So well attended that I don’t mind admitting that there was a bit of anxiety about the level of refreshments that we had on hand, as we had 120 friends and supporters turn up, but thankfully our anxiety was not realised.

In this atmosphere of hope, our new logo was launched

With our new logo, there is an accompanying phrase: “Your club, your people.” This is intended to capture what Macra is all about.

We have just come out of a horrendous period of lockdown and we are seeing the damage that it has done to both individuals and communities.

We have also learned in Macra, through the efforts of members who went above and beyond any call of duty, that our most precious resource is our people. With your club, your people, we are proclaiming to all that it is our people who come first.

Our people kept both Macra and the communities in which Macra is present alive and kicking during the lockdown.

We now have a duty to drive this on, to support our people even more and develop our people in any way that we can.

The Ploughing was excellent, our people were even better. I look forward to meeting old and new friends alike at next year’s National Planning Championships.