Noel McPartland – In Focus – Episode 131
This week’s ‘In Focus’ sees Breifne talk to Drumshanbo’s Noel McPartland who will be installed as Leitrim Guardian’s Leitrim Person of the Year at the launch of the Leitrim Guardian on Sunday afternoon in the Landmark Hotel.
A native of Drumshanbo he details growing up in the town and the conditions which saw him emigrate to the United States in the early 1960’s and after enjoying life in New York City for a while he found himself drafted into the US Army. He tells us about the experience he had with a few years in the service of the stars and stripes.
Arriving home to take care of his parent’s business interests in the town in the early 60’s he found himself falling back in love with the town and the people of the town, one in particular, Margaret Cullen, the lady who would become his wife of 53 years.
A job offer from Raymond Laird led to him travelling the world as a sales representative for Lairds Jam across the west of Ireland, the UK and eventually throughout North Africa and the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, Iraq & Libya.
When Lairds closed in Drumshanbo he continued his work as a representative exporting food on behalf of other Irish suppliers to the region, while in the background with others around the town in the community council he continued his work to restore the old factory and create a positive employment location in the town.
Over the last 12 years the Food Hub has grown from a single tenant to a full house of award winning food producers and has created over 90 jobs with more on the way through a new visitor centre, a second food preparation factory in the town and other initiatives.
This Sunday, Noel will receive his award in the company of his family and friends from the current incumbent of the position, Seamus O’Rourke.