Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Seasons Greetings!

The first Country Market was held on 17th of January 1947 in Fethard, Co Tipperary. The Irish economy still displayed all the effects of wartime dislocation, rationing, rising inflation, falling living standards and frequent strikes.
The Big Snow of 1947 began one week later. Of the fifty days between January 24th and March 17th it snowed on thirty of them. In places the driving winds caused snowdrifts that reached the tops of telegraph poles. The country came to a complete standstill, and the plummeting temperatures caused many deaths of people and livestock. Yet people persevered and their resilience got them through.

At the moment it doesn’t look as if 2012 will be any better than 2011, but perspective is important at this time. It might be a good idea to look back at how our ancestors faced their challenges.

Over 400,000 people left Ireland in the 1950s, at home many lived in very poor housing conditions from inner city tenements, to town and rural hovels. Poverty was rife and many people were confined in dreadful institutions.

Opportunities for country women to earn money and craftworkers to sell their work were few. The founders of Country Markets Ltd realised that working together for a common cause could help. This grass roots initiative of self and mutual help came to fruition when the first branch market opened in Fethard.

Today standards in housing, education , income and benefits are much better. What ever problems we have today are mild compared to those faced by people in 1947.

Country Markets have the framework for a viable future,which has stood the test of time. Country Markets Ltd currently has 61 branch markets, membership of 1051 and continues to attract new members.

Had our ancestors not faced their many challenges we would not be here. Lets make 2012 a year when Country Markets rises to the challenge.

A very Happy New Year to you all.

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