Flashback: Limerick and Clare Milk Producers committee members John McSweeney, Eileen Hannan, Arthur Ruttle, Michael O'Connor, chairman, Valerie Collins and Paul Hannan at last January’s dinner dance
THE MISERY and monotony of a normal January seems like a holiday in Las Vegas in comparison to January of 2021.
One of the events that broke up the month for dairy farmers for decades has been the Limerick and Clare Milk Producers dinner dance in the Dunraven Arms Hotel. But like everything else that too has fallen by the wayside due to Covid-19.
Due to take place this Friday night, Michael O’Connor, chairman, said they hope to be back in 2022. Every year he gives a speech to the attendees. Mr O’Connor is known for not pulling any punches. Despite no event this year he still kindly furnished Farm Leader with what he would have said.
“What a year 2020 turned out to be… It was unusual to say the least. When the news first broke back in March of the coronavirus which had invaded our country we were all shocked and confused - scary times.
“In many walks of life people lost their jobs and livelihoods and unfortunately months on the virus is still with us. Hopefully with the new vaccines there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Mr O’Connor.
Farming is a lonely pursuit by its nature but Covid-19 drove many farmers underground instead of working on top of the ground.
“In farming we were fortunate to be able to work away as normal, safe in our own environment. I suppose the biggest drawback to farmers and everyone is the isolation this virus brought upon us.
“Gone are all the social gatherings we looked forward to - the mart, family days out at the local agricultural shows and the ploughing, GAA matches, races and, indeed, our local pub. Going forward at least Brexit, with all its uncertainties, seems to be sorted.
“As ever in farming there always seems to be something on the horizon, one being the new rules around nitrates but as ever we need to be resilient and will have to work through it.
“To finish I suppose our wish is to come through this virus and return to some kind of normality. Take care and stay safe,” said Mr O’Connor. His address would have been greeted by warm applause in the Dunraven Arms’ function room.
On behalf of the Limerick and Clare Milk Producers, Mr O’Connor thanked one and all who support them every year, including all the spot prize sponsors, and looked forward to a return of the dinner dance in 2022.