Meitheal na mBan, Rural Women Munster, is in the process of getting up and running.

It will hold a meeting in The Arches, Mallow, Co. Cork, on Tuesday next, May 23, at 8:00pm with registration from 7:30pm.

Founder member Catherine Guest is a full-time suckler and beef farmer from Tipperary.

In early 2017, four members from the women in agriculture group in Kerry, along with two members of the New Futures Farming Group in Tipperary, convened. Their mission was to set up a Munster-based group for rural women.

Joan Collins, Eileen Moynihan, Sheila Crowley, and Patricia Kelliher, are all actively involved in the Kerry group, which was founded in 1984.

Catherine Guest chairs the Tipperary group, which was founded in 2006, while Mary Ryan is treasurer.

All have extensive knowledge and experience in other groups and community organisations. They identified the need for a group to support, educate and encourage women, many of whom live in very rural and isolated areas of Munster.

The group, whose motto is ‘Help create a Voice’, is currently building membership by hosting meetings across the various counties, including the first meeting of 35 which took place in Adare on March 21. 

Meetings are held every eight weeks, with women encouraged to voice any issues that affect them.

Discussions are held and guest speakers are invited to give presentations and share knowledge on specific subjects.

“To date, we are getting a very positive reaction from rural women,” Guest said.

“We have also received messages of support from many agri-businesses.

“There is huge positivity around the idea, which we, as founders, are finding most encouraging and incentivising,” Guest said.

Our plan is to host meetings around Munster to meet and listen to women in order to discover the real issues of rural Ireland.

“We consider it important that we travel out to the areas. Transport and accessibility may be an issue for some if meetings are not held relatively locally,” said Guest.

Further information is available from: Catherine Guest at: (086) 1575949; Sheila Crowley at: (087) 2688989; Joan Collins at: (064) 6633748; Mary Ryan at: (087) 7667040; Eileen Moynihan at: (087) 6932201; or Patricia Kelliher at: (087) 7651280.

The South-East women in farming group is in the process of being formed.

Ann Stenning and Ann Doran, who were members of a small farming group in Wexford, attended a network forum on women in agriculture in 2013. Along with a number of other women in farming, they felt that women were in the shadow for too long and needed a voice.

In November 2015, members of the Wexford and Kerry farming groups met with the aim of setting up groups for women in farming. An open meeting was held in December 2015 and interest grew from there.

“Since that meeting we have met eleven times and interest has grown in setting up regional groups, which is currently happening,” Stenning said.

The next meeting of the South-Leinster group will be held in the Millrace Hotel, Bunclody, Co. Wexford, on Tuesday, June 13. For details, phone: (087) 2261507.