The outstanding lifelong contribution to the Irish cooperative movement by Jim Maguire – former chairman of National Co-operative Farm Relief Services (NCFRS) – has been recognised nationally with the cooperative industry’s highest honour – the Plunkett Award for Co-operative Endeavour.

It is named after the founder of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS), Sir Horace Plunkett.

Chosen from a shortlist of distinguished nominees, the award is presented to one individual each year who is regarded as having made an outstanding lifelong contribution to the cooperative movement in Ireland.

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; CEO T.J. Flanagan; 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.

Plunkett Award

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 cooperative 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,” O’Donnell added.

“He is a pillar of our cooperative ideals and the benefits of our original guiding ethos of better farming, better business and better living.”

Jim Maguire

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.

Maguire also served on the board of his local FRS Co-op from 1980 to 2008.

He demonstrated his commitment to cooperative ideals early in his career with his involvement in a sub-committee set up by Cavan Macra Na Feirme in 1977, which set up a relief milking service, and in turn established Cavan’s FRS Cooperative in 1980.

The Cavan man 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.

Mr. Maguire 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.