President Michael D. Higgins meets Team Ireland ahead of World Butchers’ Challenge in Belfast

President Michael D. Higgins met with the TOP butchers representing Ireland at this year’s World Butchers’ Challenge – including four who stem from Northern Ireland – ahead of the World Class competition taking place at the Titanic Exhibition Centre from 20 – 21 March.

Chosen to be part of Team Ireland are Eamon Etherson of Etherson’s Family Butchers, Portrush; Ian McKernaghan of Lisdergan Meats, Fintona; Colly Donnelly of J. MacMahon’s Butchers, Cookstown and Stephen Millar of Millar Meats, Irvinestown who will join Garrett Landers and Stephen Cooke, of Garrett’s Butchers in Limerick.

Headed up by CEO of Butchery Excellence International and Team Ireland Manager, Rhonda Montgomery from Ballygawley, Team Ireland were welcomed to a Presidential reception with over 50 delegates – including Team Ireland sponsors Kerry Group, McDonnells Queen Street and Spice O’Life Ltd – to meet with President Higgins.

 Rhonda Montgomery comments:

“It was a great honour to travel with Team Ireland to Áras an Uachtaráin and met with the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.  What an incredible opportunity for the whole team to step back from the months of preparation and training, and to receive formal acknowledgement ahead of representing their country at the World Butchers’ Challenge 2018.

 “The competition taking place at Meat@IFEX will allow our butchers to demonstrate their extraordinary skills and knowledge, and indeed for Northern Ireland and Ireland, to showcase the quality of our produce on a World Stage.   The competition will be tough with the international teams eager to showcase their own skills, but I am very confident in Team Ireland, as individually, each butcher brings a new skill to the table.”

The World Butchers’ Challenge 2018 which will take place during Meat@IFEX – an adjoining event to IFEX, Northern Ireland’s premier food, drink, retail and hospitality event –  is set to be the biggest yet, with Team Ireland competing against squads from 11 other countries in the hopes of being named ‘Best Butchers in the World’.

Visited by thousands of people from the food service and hospitality sectors, the show will be expanding its visitor base, with the World Butchers’ Challenge expected to attract over 250 butchers from around the globe.


In the above photo are; Eamon Etherson of Etherson’s Family Butchers, Portrush; Team Ireland Captain, Garrett Landers, of Garrett’s Butchers in Limerick; Team Ireland Vice Captain, Ian McKernaghan of Lisdergan Meats, Fintona; President Michael D. Higgins; Colly Donnelly of J. MacMahon’s Butchers, Cookstown; Stephen Millar of Millar Meats, Irvinestown and Stephen Cooke, of Garrett’s Butchers in Limerick