History of the ICMSA
The Irish Creamery Milk Supplier Association (ICMSA) is a national independent body of farmers controlled by a National Council of 108 members, elected annually. The day to day affairs are carried out by an Administrative Committee of 9 members, whose Chairperson is the President of the Association.
The Association was founded in 1950 following a ministerial announcement which indicated that creamery milk suppliers throughout the country were to be faced with a reduction in the milk price.
This led to spontaneous demands in all creamery areas for an establishment of an association to protect the interests of milk producers.
The first records of the establishment referred to the Killeshandra area in the spring of 1950. In July of that year, a meeting of representatives of milk suppliers was held in Nenagh, where a unanimous decision to form a national association was taken. This was to be known as the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association. Mr. Charles H. Fletcher of Killeshandra was elected the first Chairperson and the head office was established in Killmallock and was later transferred to Limerick.
The main aims of the Association were:
(a) To organise creamery milk suppliers throughout the country and to safeguard their interests, particularly in the matter of milk prices.
(b) To create a well-informed public opinion in matters relating to the dairy industry and subsidiaries.
(c) To aid further development of milk manufacturing industries.
(d) To further the development of the co-operative movement at all levels.
The task of organising the country’s milk suppliers got under way and Branches were established at local creamery level giving an effective organisational structure. The Association was organised into Branches, Areas, Counties and Regions, each with its own elected officers.
There are at present 72 Areas with a total membership of 16,000. Membership is open to all persons engaged in agricultural production. The Association is serviced by a Headquarters staff under a General Secretary and a field staff of organisers.
The founders of the Association well appreciated that dairying was and would continue to be the primary agricultural industry in Ireland.
The founders of the Association well appreciated that dairying was and would continue to be the primary agricultural industry in Ireland. With the growth of the organisation however, and because of the needs of the agricultural community, it was decided to broaden the scope of activities to cater for other branches of agriculture. Accordingly, the Association became in character, a general farming organisation with the main objectives being: -
1) The organisation of the farmers and agricultural producers of Ireland on an entirely non-political and non-sectarian basis.
2) To promote the interests of all engaged in agriculture.
3) To advise on protection and regulation of the agricultural industry in Ireland.
In furtherance of these objectives, the Association is pledged to constantly work for conditions which shall encourage the establishment of the maximum number of viable family-farm type holdings in the country.
Because all our members are farmers working in the field, the Association at all times has laid greatest emphasis on the difficulties being encountered at farm level and on farmers’ suggestions for the solution for these difficulties.
In addition to consultative status with the Government and Government Departments, officers of the Association are members of Departmental and State organised Committees and of other Organisations.
LEADERS OF THE ASSOCIATION FROM 1950
- Charles H. Fletcher, Killeshandra, Co. Cavan. Chairman: May 1950 – August 1952. President August 1952-July 1961.
- John Feely, Fedamore, Co. Limerick. President: July 1961 – October 1968.
- Patrick O’Brien, Liscarroll, Co. Cork. Acting President: October 1968 – December 1968.
- James O’Keeffe, Newmarket, Co. Cork. President: November 1968 – May 1978.
- Anthony Leddy, Kilnacranagh, Milltown, Co. Cavan. President: May 1978- July 1981.
- Sean Kelly, Curraghpoor, Tipperary. President: July 1981 – June 1986 and September 1987 – October 1989.
- Con Scully, Dunowen, Ardfield, Clonakilty, Co. Cork. President: June 1986 – September 1987.
- Tom O’Dwyer, Dromdowney, Snowhill, Co. Kilkenny. President: October 1989 – November 1995.
- Frank Allen, Ballinamona, Galbally, Co. Limerick. President: November 1995 – November 1999.
- Pat O’Rourke, Hillbrook, Moatefarrell, Co. Longford. President: November 1999 – November 2005.
- Jackie Cahill, Killinan, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. President: December 2005 – November 2011.
- John Comer, Boleyard, Shraheens, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. President: November 2011 – December 2016.
ICMSA Head Office
John Feely House