Suffolk Sheep Society South of Ireland Branch
Arthur O’Keeffe, Annakisha Flock
The Suffolk Sheep Society, South of Ireland were delighted to see Mr Arthur O’Keefe of the Annakisha Flock, have his accomplishments and contributions over many years in the Suffolk World acknowledged at the National Hall of Fame Awards which were held in the Sheraton Hotel in Athlone on Sunday May 1st. The National Hall of Fame Awards, Axknowledges people in the Ovine, Equine and Bovine Industries who have contributed over their lifetime to breeding, showing, adjudicating and promoting various breeds. Each breed society nominates a person who in their opinion is deserving of such an award.
The awards on the night were presented by Minister Pippa Hackett, Minister for state for Land Use and Bio Diversity in the Department of Agriculture.
Arthur O’Keeffe’s name is synonymous with the South of Ireland Branch of the Suffolk Sheep Society for over forty years. During this time Arthur not alone worked hard to improve the Annakisha Suffolk Flock, founded 70 years ago by his late father, but also was actively involved in making the South of Ireland Branch one of the most successful branches in the society while on its committee of which he was chairman for two years.
He was appointed to the Judges Panel of the Suffolk Sheep Society in 1982 and has judged at numerous shows throughout Ireland and the UK including the Royal Highland, Royal Show, Royal Ulster, the National S&S, Edinburgh S&S, the Northern Ireland Branch Premier and the National Flock Competition.
In 2009, Arthur was honoured to be elected President of the Suffolk Sheep Society covering England, Scotland and Wales as well as the island of Ireland. His presidency saw him travel to all of the branches in these countries and he had the honour of judging the National Flock Competition of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.
While dairying is the main farm enterprise Arthur has had a keen interest in the Suffolk breed since childhood. He believes that the Suffolk’s ability to reach target weights in a shorter time frame combined with good fleshing ability makes them the ideal sire for the commercial flock. The Suffolks also enjoy greater length than most of their counterparts while in recent years the Suffolk x ewe is in great demand for breeding and also commands a premium price from the butcher.
The Annakisha Flock has consistently enjoyed great success in both the show and sales ring. While Arthur was fortunate to win the Supreme champion on 10 occasions at the RDS/National Championships and Female of the Year 7 times, he places great emphasis on the local shows as he feels that they are a great shop window to promote the breed and encourages all breeders to participate. At the Premier Show and Sale he has successfully claimed the championship 5 times while taking Reserve Champion 8 times selling to all corners of Ireland, UK and Europe. In recent years he has seen a large number of his Suffolk ewes and rams being exported to Europe and believes that this is testament to the high standard of sheep attained by the South of Ireland Branch members.
Arthur would like to thank the committee of the South of Ireland Branch of the Suffolk Sheep Society for nominating him to receive the Hall of Fame Award and also his family who have helped and supported him through the years.