Bertie O’Leary has been re-elected President and Martin Keane has been re-elected vice-president of, the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS), following a unanimous vote by the board. 

O’Leary is chairman and a board member of Dairygold Co-operative Society. Keane is vice-chairman and a board member of Glanbia Co-operative Society.

“The business of co-operation has an essential role to play in the success of the Irish agriculture and food industry and the renewal of our economy.  This will be particularly significant as we approach 2015 with the abolition of quotas with the opportunity for growth in meeting world demand for sustainably produced, high quality and wholesome foods,” said O’Leary.

Glanbia’s Keane added: “ICOS is promoting a strategic approach to the opportunities for Irish agriculture in the future.  This includes a focus by all of our members on innovation, competitiveness, operational excellence and the provision of the highest possible quality of products and services in meeting market demands at home and abroad. With this approach, Irish co-operatives will continue to grow and prosper in the future.”

O’Leary is from Ballyvourney, west of Macroom, Co Cork.  A dairy farmer who has served on the Dairygold board since 2005,  he has served as a Dairygold representative for over 20 years. He was appointed chairman of Dairygold in January 2012.  O’Leary was most recently vice-president of ICOS and chairman of the ICOS Dairy Committee.  He is also the current chairman of the Irish Milk Quality Co-operative Society.  He is a Dairygold nominee director on the board of Reox Holdings and served as vice chairman of Dairygold in 2009 and 2010.

Martin Keane is vice-chairman of Glanbia. He was appointed to the Glanbia Board on 24 May 2006 and has served six full years on the Board. He was nominated for appointment by Glanbia Co-operative Society. Martin farms at Errill, Portlaoise, Co Laois and has completed the ICOS Co-operative Leadership Programme.  He is also a board member of ICS Europaks Limited. He is a former director of Co-operative Animal Health.

ICOS represents co-operatives and organisations in Ireland – including the Irish dairy processing co-operatives and livestock marts – whose associated businesses have a combined turnover in the region of €12bn, with some 150,000 individual members, employing 12,000 people in Ireland, and a further 24,000 people overseas.   Irish agricultural exports contribute over €9bn to the Irish economy each year and the sector accounts for 8 per cent of national employment.

Pictured were Bertie O’Leary, Chairman of Dairygold (centre) has been re-elected President of ICOS the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society and Martin Keane (left), Vice-Chairman of Glanbia has been re-elected ICOS Vice-President, pictured with ICOS CEO Seamus O’Donohoe on right. Image MCK Communications