Committee

Northern region

Southern region

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Sam Butler, Chairman
Sam Butler is a freelance journalist specialising in food. He is a former Editor of the News Letter, Belfast and a former Business Editor of Today in London. He is a regular contributor to a range of publications including Farm Week, Belfast Telegraph, News Letter and Business Eye. He provides news material in support of Invest Northern Ireland food marketing in Britain, the Republic of Ireland and further afield. He also works with Food NI on promoting food and drink in Northern Ireland.


Michele Filippi, Secretary
Michele is owner of the Belfast-based PR and Marketing Consultancy MF Communication. Prior to setting up her own business, Michele worked as Group Communications Manager UDV Ireland, (now part of Diageo); as well as for a number of leading PR agencies. She joined the Guild of Agricultural Journalists Southern Section initially, working in agri-PR consultancy alongside the Ireland Guild’s founding member Larry Sheedy. She has been an active member of the Northern Section committee since 2003 including serving as its Secretary under two previous Chairmen. She holds Accredited Practitioner status with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and is a fully qualified Chartered Institute of Marketing Consultant. She is also a founding member of the Marketing Institute of Ireland’s NI committee. Michele has particular interest and experience in agri-food PR and business-to-business PR and marketing. She manages the integrated media relations and PR programme in support of the high profile ‘Diageo Baileys Irish Champion Cow Competition’ on behalf of its sponsors, Diageo and Glanbia Ingredients Ireland.


Tom Morrow, Treasurer
Tom Morrow is Northern Correspondent with theIrish Farmers Journal , the predominant farming newspaper in Ireland. Earlier in his career he worked with United Dairy Farmers and the Milk Marketing Board for Northern Ireland looking after the farm services side of these businesses.The first step in his career was with Richardson’s Fertilisers after studies in agriculture and agricultural economics at Queens University Belfast. He is currently the treasurer of the Northern Section of the Guild.


James Campbell
James Campbell is an agricultural journalist with the Irish Farmers Journal (IFJ) – the main newspaper for farmers and the agri-food industry in Ireland, with weekly circulation of over 70,000 copies and multi media coverage via www.farmersjournal.ie.A member of a farming family based near Newtownards in Co Down, James was Northern editor of the IFJ from 1984 until June 2013. He was treasurer of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) from 2008 until 2015. From 2003 to 2008, he was the Irish Guild’s international delegate serving on the executive committee of IFAJ. James was president of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Ireland from 1994 to 1996. He is a past chair of the Northern Section of the Guild, in which he also served as treasurer for 20 years.James is a past chair of the Northern Ireland Institute of Agricultural Science and a graduate of The Queen’s University Belfast, holding the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Master of Agriculture in Farm Business Economics. He also has a post graduate Diploma in Agricultural Communications.


Ian Harvey
Ian Harvey is the author of a popular two-page farm diversification series in FarmWeek and runs a small production business which includes voice-overs. Having studied agriculture at Greenmount Agricultural College he ran the family farm in Co. Donegal until its sale in 1973. Trained as a youth organiser in Strasbourg he worked for the national office of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster and then joined BBC Agriculture, Belfast in 1977, retiring after 22 years service as Senior Producer responsible for BBC’s Radio Ulster farming & gardening programmes. A broadcast journalist he produced, presented and directed farming and gardening programmes on both TV & radio, nationally and internationally and was joint presenter and producer from the beginning of the successful long-running BBC NI Farm Gate radio series. He has held office at all levels of the GAJI and has been an agricultural journalist and member of the Guild for 39 years. He now runs his small farm holding near Saintfield, Co. Down.


Gill McNeill
Gill McNeill is an NUJ freelance journalist, graphic designer and CIM fellow. With a media background since 1983, Gill is principal of McNeill Media Limited, offering a bespoke cross-platform communication package including PR, design, publishing and event management.
Editor – Campbell College, Belfast – alumni.
Quarterly consumer – LifestyleGreen.
Contributor – Royal College of Nursing – Emergency Nurse
Copywriting – Monthly enewsletter – Neutradol.
PR/design/marketing – Down to Earth (NI) Limited – NI’s first woodland burial service.
PR – Agri-business.
Publisher/designer – RUAS Balmoral Show & Winter Fair publications.

Gill has been a committee member of the Guild’s Northern Ireland branch since 1992.


Chris McCullough
Chris McCullough is a freelance multi-media journalist based in Belfast and specialises in all aspects of agriculture. He has spent the past 15 years travelling the globe hunting for the best stories in food, farming and politics. Chris was brought up on a dairy and beef farm in the heart of Northern Ireland. After graduating from agricultural college Chris started off his career in journalism by writing a column for a Belfast based farm newspaper. This weekly column soon developed into bigger and more widespread journalism. He has reported extensively from overseas, mostly throughout Europe but also from USA, Canada, India, Australia and African countries on various topics. He has won a number of awards for his photos and journalism and is always on the lookout for his next exclusive.

tableblock Oonagh O’Mahony, Chairman
Oonagh O’Mahony is Editor of Irishfood magazine, as well as a regular contributor to Irish Farmers Monthly and the Veterinary Ireland Journal. Oonagh is also on the Editorial Steering Group for Teagasc’s scientific publication, TResearch. Oonagh completed a Degree in Journalism and French in 2008 and joined IFP Media in 2011.


Niall Madigan, Secretary
Niall Madigan is the National Press Officer for the Irish Farmers Association (IFA). He joined the Guild in 2005 when he took up his role with IFA. From a farming background in Co Limerick, he worked as a broadcast journalist and current affairs presenter with Radio Kerry from 1997 to 2005. He is a BA graduate from UCD where he studied Politics and Economics.


Roz O’Shaughnessy, Treasurer
Roz O’Shaughnessy is the corporate communications manager for Bord Bia.
From a farming background in Co. Wexford, Roz has worked in communications since 2004 and joined Bord Bia in February 2007. She has a degree in Business Studies with French and a post graduate diploma in PR and Communications. Roz joined the Guild committee for the first time in March 2009.Miriam Atkins
Miriam Atkins is Editor of Food and Wine magazine. Prior to this, she was Editor of Irish Food magazine, Deputy Editor of Irish Farmers Monthly, Deputy Editor of Veterinary Ireland Journal, and worked on the Editorial Steering Group for Teagasc’s scientific publication, TResearch. Originally from Wicklow, Miriam has a Masters Degree in English Literature.


Damien O’Reilly
Damien O’Reilly is a broadcast journalist with RTE Radio 1 where he has worked since 1998. He presents Countrywide every Saturday morning. In 2012, he won the IFAJ star prize for broadcasting and was also named the PPI speech broadcaster of the year for 2015. Damien is a former chairman, secretary and treasurer of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Ireland. He is a founder member and current secretary of the European Network of Agricultural Journalists. He is also the current Irish executive member of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ).


Margaret Donnelly
Margaret Donnelly is the Editor at Agriland.ie, Ireland’s largest farming news publisher. Before that she worked as editor at Irish Farmers Monthly and Veterinary Journal Ireland, as well as an agricultural journalist for the Farming Independent and a sub-editor for the Irish Independent.
She comes from a beef and tillage farm in the midlands and studied journalism at college before joining the Farming Independent.
She has been a member of the committee for three years and during that time represented the Guild in the US while on a travel bursary.


Ciara Leahy
Ciara Leahy is the Consumer Editor in 
Irish Country Living, the weekly supplement in the Irish Farmers Journal and she also writes in Irish Country Magazine. Ciara reports on consumer issues relevant to the weekly spending of farming and rural families. Event management is also key to her role and she is involved in the co-ordination of the annual Women and Agriculture conference. Ciara has a degree in English and Sociology, a Masters in Public Relations and a Masters in Management from Smurfit Business School.


Pat O’Keeffe
Pat O’Keeffe is Head of Farmer Relations with Glanbia. Prior to this he was news editor of the Irish Farmers Journal.
From a dairy and beef farming background in Cork, he has worked in the Journal since graduating from UCD with a Masters degree in Animal Science in 1997.
He joined the Guild committee in 2003. He is a strong supporter of the Guild, both from a professional development point of view and as a means to encourage and facilitate social interaction between those working in the sector.


Liam Lavelle
Liam Lavelle the Head of Production of independent television company AGTEL.
He is responsible for the enduring success of ‘Ear to the Ground’ – a rural current affairs programme which is one of the longest running and most acclaimed series on RTE.
He has a keen interest in educational television and has written, produced and directed many training films on health and safety, food and agriculture, environment and development. He sits on the Screen Producers Ireland Broadcasting Committee, the representative body for the Irish film and television industry.

Awards 2016

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