It was a “welcome back” situation when Colin McDonald, Chief Executive, RUAS spoke at the NI Grain Trade Association’s annual general meeting. Colin is a former Executive Committee member and former Vice President of NIGTA. 

Colin McDonald, centre, Chief Executive, RUAS, Guest Speaker at the NI Grain Trade AGM chats with Declan Billington, past president NIGTA and David Mawhinney, NIGTA. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Colin McDonald, centre, Chief Executive, RUAS, Guest Speaker at the NI Grain Trade AGM chats with Declan Billington, past president NIGTA and David Mawhinney, NIGTA. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Commenting on Colin’s success in spearheading the change in location for the Balmoral Show last year to the new site at the Maze, NIGTA President, Owen Brennan said that losing Colin before he took up the NIGTA Presidency was a loss for the Association but was certainly a “win,win” for the RUAS. The mammoth task of moving to the Maze had taken years of planning , enormous attention to detail, hard work and the persuasive skills to convince RUAS members and the public that it was the correct decision.

NIGTA members enjoyed Colin’s enlightening presentation which started with the aviation history of the new site, followed by its political history. He outlined the Master Plan for the move and the various hurdles that had to be overcome including the regulatory aspects.

Office Bearers at the Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association AGM. From left Owen Brennan, immediate past President; Robin Irvine, Chief Executive; Alan Johnston, President; Stephen Burrell, Honorary Treasurer and David Malseed, Honorary Secretary. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Office Bearers at the Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association AGM. From left Owen Brennan, immediate past President; Robin Irvine, Chief Executive; Alan Johnston, President; Stephen Burrell, Honorary Treasurer and David Malseed, Honorary Secretary. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

However  the efforts of Colin and his team were well rewarded when the Balmoral Show 2013 was a resounding success with a massive attendance. Indeed it was such a success that trade stand space is fully booked for this year.

Commenting on the RUAS’ recent financial report Colin said “ At present we are asset rich and cash poor but hopefully that will change in the near future.”

Presenting NIGTA’s financial report to the AGM, Stephen Burrell, Honorary Treasurer, announced that NIGTA was also cash poor and unfortunately was also asset poor. However the Association had ended 2013 with a very small surplus and this was an encouraging result considering the introduction of the Food Fortress scheme, the appointment of a Chief Executive and the amount of political lobbying and liaison with other farming organisations.

The election of office bearers resulted in Alan Johnston being elected President, Stephen Burrell being re-elected Honorary Treasurer and David Malseed being re-elected Honorary Secretary.