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Members of the ICOS that made the presentation to Clem McAuliffe: Ray Doyle, James Kane. T.J. Flanagan, Clem, Jerry Long, present ICOS, and sean Myers photo Ita West

Tuesday 29th March 2022 – An exceptional, lifelong contribution to the Irish co-operative movement by Clement (Clem) McAuliffe, Golden Vale Mart, has been recognised nationally with the co-operative industry’s highest national honour – The Plunkett Award for Co-operative Endeavour, named after Sir Horace Plunkett, founder of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society.

Mr. McAuliffe, from Lisheen, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, and now living in Ardpatrick, received the honour in a ceremony marking a lifetime’s contribution to the Co-operative movement and to his local Golden Vale Mart Co-operative Society where he was elected onto the first committee of the society on its inception in 1955, at the age of 21, and has served with distinction in the intervening years.

The Committee at that time secured a site in Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, raised the necessary Share Capital, built a Mart and held its first sale in June 1958. Over the decades, Golden Vale Mart (GVM Group) has developed into a modern and diversified group operating multiple livestock marts, property auctioneering, investment and development, and renewable energy. For over 60 years, it has maintained its co-operative structure and ethos and is today a multi-faceted business with shareholders funds of over €24 million and around 5,000 shareholders.

On the passing away of his father in 1949, a then 15 year old Clement took on the running of the farm together with his mother to create a successful mainly dairy enterprise. Becoming involved in the direction of GVM in his twenties, he served in a voluntary capacity on the Board of GVM from 1956 until his retirement in 2005.

As a member of the Board, Clement played a critical role in guiding the Society towards many opportunities and through occasional challenges including steadying the ship when the group’s meat factory business had problems in the 1970s. His forward looking and progressive outlook has been an immense encouragement to everyone throughout the organisation, and most notably so in his support of the society’s modern day technological advancements in marts and diversification into renewable energy which is essential for Ireland’s long term sustainability agenda.

Clement McAuliffe served as Chairman of his local IFA branch for 10 years and also served on the local Advisory Committee of Golden Vale Creameries for a number of years. To this day, Clement still takes a massive interest in the Society, rarely missing the weekly sales at Kilmallock Mart, where is son and namesake is now also on the Kilmallock Advisory Committee. Since the first AGM of Golden Vale Mart in 1956, Clement has attended over 60 Annual General Meetings of the Society.

Jerry Long, President of ICOS said, “Clement McAuliffe is an iconic figure in the Golden Vale Marts Group and an exemplar of the best characteristics of personal dedication to the ideals of co-operation – achieving better, farming, better business, better living for all – through co-operative enterprise. He overcame significant adversity in his formative years, developing a bank of skills and knowledge in farm management and demonstrating a great personal zeal and initiative, which he then brought into effect very meaningfully for the benefit of Golden Vale Marts and its members for over six decades.  A truly admirable person, he has given selflessly in his service to the co-operative movement for the betterment of farming, neighbours, community, county and country, and it is an honour for us to recognise this by presenting him with this prestigious national award.”