Pillar of the Co-operative Movement receives Plunkett Award

The Plunkett Award is the premier honorary award made by ICOS annually. Chosen from a shortlist of distinguished nominees, it is presented to one individual each year who is regarded as having made an outstanding lifelong contribution to the co-operative movement in Ireland.

06 December 2022 – The outstanding lifelong contribution to the Irish co-operative movement by Jim Maguire – former Chairman of National Co-operative Farm Relief Services (NCFRS) – has been recognised nationally with the co-operative industry’s highest honour – The Plunkett Award for Co-operative Endeavour, named after the founder of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society, Sir Horace Plunkett (1854 – 1932).

Jim Maguire, from Beglieve, Bailieboro, Co. Cavan, attended the award ceremony with his wife Mary and sisters Kay Maguire and Mary O’Reilly. The ceremony was also attended by ICOS President James O’Donnell and CEO T.J. Flanagan; and by NCFRS senior management executives Colin Donnery, Group CEO; Donal Slattery, Deputy CEO; Siobhan Dooley, Group Chief Financial Officer, along with co-op industry leaders from all over Ireland.

Presenting the Plunkett Award, ICOS President James O’Donnell said, “Jim Maguire is absolutely deserving of this award. His work has been integral to the progress and development of Irish co-operative farming and his contribution cannot be overstated.  As well as his national role, Jim being a founding member, board member and later Chairman of Cavan and District Farm Relief Services, demonstrates his dedication to making a real difference in people’s lives and he has worked tirelessly in this pursuit and in the interests of rural communities.

“Across his career, Jim has proven himself as a true leader. From the formation of the NCFRS, he has been an advisor, mentor and friend to those he worked with. He has been the steady hand that those around him have turned to and trusted at all times. Truly, he is a pillar of our co-operative ideals and the benefits of our original guiding ethos of better farming, better business and better living.”

Jim Maguire served on the board of NCFRS from its formation in 1980 until 2006. He was elected vice-chairman in 1983 and chairman of NCFRS from 1986 to 1999. Jim also served on the board of his local FRS Co-op from 1980 to 2008.

The organisation has flourished under the guidance of Jim Maguire, with his involvement being a key element in its growth. Jim demonstrated his commitment to co-operative ideals early in his career with his involvement in a subcommittee set up by Cavan Macra Na Feirme in 1977 which set up a relief milking service, and in turn established Cavan’s FRS Co-operative in 1980.

Jim led numerous negotiations with government departments on behalf of FRS Co-ops in his role as a member of the board of NCFRS. As Chairman of the NCFRS, he played a crucial part in developing the organisation and leading it to success. He demonstrated this in securing the long-term viability of the organisation through rationalisation and amalgamation. He also played a key role in overseeing the amalgamations of Cavan and Westmeath FRS and was pivotal in the amalgamation of six FRS co-ops into a single co-operative in 2005.

Jim was a visionary, collaborating with others to provide a solution to the increasing need for labour supports for farmers through the 1980s and 1990s. He believed that this was best done through member owned FRS co-operatives and he displayed practical foresight and business acumen to achieve this, guiding the FRS through its early years.

Jim’s dedication to co-operation is also demonstrated in his voluntary efforts for both his local FRS co-op and NCFRS. His efforts were never stymied by scarce financial resources. He was generous both in passion and his personal time in engaging with the important matters relevant to NCFRS, and his dedication is remembered most kindly by everyone who worked with him.

Jim also served on the board of Breffni Integrated CLG, a community led local development company. He further worked with the Cavan LEADER Local Action group and was involved in local group water schemes.

We at FRS Network congratulate Jim on his achievements and being honoured with the Plunkett Award.

4 – Jim Maguire, recipient of the Plunkett Award for Co-operative Endeavour (centre) with L/R Donal Slattery, Deputy CEO; Siobhan Dooley, Chief Financial Officer and Colin Donnery, CEO, of National farm Relief Services Ltd. Fennell Photography 2022
2 – Jim Maguire, recipient of the Plunkett Award for Co-operative Endeavour with ICOS President, James O’Donnell (left). Fennell Photography 2022

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