Denis Duggan is to step down as CEO of Macra na Feirme later this year, it has been confirmed.

Macra na Feirme announced that upon the completion of his contract at the end of this year, Duggan has decided to leave the organisation and pursue other opportunities after spending more than five years at the helm of Ireland’s young farmer and rural youth organisation.

A native of Co. Tipperary, Duggan joined Macra na Feirme from his previous role as senior regional development officer with Enterprise Ireland back in 2016.

Duggan looks set to depart an organisation in good stead, going by the most recent available reports, though the impact of Covid-19 is yet to be revealed, following a tough 2020.

However, in 2019 the rural youth association tripled its surplus to €345,760 as membership topped 10,000 for the first time in decades.

According to the organisation’s annual report for 2019, released last October, Macra enjoyed a bumper year as it celebrated its 75th anniversary.

Macra enjoyed the tripling of its surplus from €115,649 to €345,760 as its income increased by 33% from €2.02 million to €2.68 million.

Meanwhile, earlier this year it was revealed that Macra is the third most active lobby organisation on the lobby register following the close of the most recent lobby period, just behind IBEC and the Irish Farmers’ Association.

Other notable highpoints from his time in charge include signing a ‘Platinum’ sponsorship deal with Massey Ferguson and focuses on issues such as farm safety and mental health through initiatives with the Irish Community Air Ambulance and Make the Moove respectively.

Commenting, Macra national chairman Andrew Doyle siad: “As Denis reaches the final stages of his tenure as Chief Executive of Macra na Feirme, I want to sincerely thank him for his contribution and hard work for more than five years, on behalf of the organisation and its members all over the country.

“He has been a strong professional leader for us at an important time of our development and has helped modernise the organisation and has embraced many new challenges and opportunities resulting in a stronger and more vibrant organisation.

Macra na Feirme national president John Keane added “I have been fortunate to work closely with Denis over much of his time with us. He has always had Macra interests and needs, both present and future, at the core of his focus and efforts.

“No more so can we see these than in the strategic plan which will guide our organisation in the important medium term and stand as a testament to Denis’s vision working with colleagues and our volunteers.

“I wish Denis and his family, on behalf of the full Macra family, every good wish and happiness for the future.”

Duggan himself said: “It has been my honour to lead Macra na Feirme for the past five years as chief executive.

“During that time, the dedicated team of staff and committed volunteers have embraced many new challenges and changes, which will stand the organisation in good stead for the years ahead.

“I am particularly proud of achievements in areas such as governance, diversity and inclusion initiatives especially participating in Dublin Pride, the significant growth in membership and the diversification of funding the organisation now enjoys.

“Macra na Feirme provides a vibrant and engaging network where any young person is welcomed and provided with extraordinary opportunities. Those opportunities and that network have never been more important as we exit the pandemic.

“I wish the board, staff, members, volunteer officers, sponsors and stakeholders continued success, enjoyment in Macra and most importantly fun along the way.

“I leave the organisation with fond memories of the fun I had on the incredible journey over the past five years,” the outgoing CEO concluded.