Remembering the Kilkenny heroes of 1966

Remembering the Kilkenny heroes of 1966
Sean Keane

Those Kilkenny men and women who are still alive and who walked to Dublin in 1966 to ensure that the National Farmers' Association (NFA) got the right to negotiate on behalf of farmers received a standing ovation at the recent night for them at the Newpark hotel, Kilkenny.

It is easy to forget what those people and their families went through at the hands of the then minister for agriculture, Charlie Haughey and the government and how they wouldn't take no for an answer.

Those pioneers had a number of high profile Kilkenny men on the walk and these natural leaders did not stand back against the State in their quest for the basic right to bargain on behalf of farmers, big and small.

IFA County chairman, Johnny Bambrick gave a brief history of those times and highlighted the enormous sacrifices they made and how they led to the setting up of what is now the Irish Farmers' Association.

He spoke of the gardai and the army raiding Kilkenny farms to take away machinery and livestock in 1967 when the NFA's anti-rates campaign took hold and how farmers stood firm.