PETER IRETON, chief executive of Bóthar was the 2011 Roll of Honour recipient. Over the past 20 years, Peter has taken the Bóthar concept, which was pioneered in the US by Heifer International in Little Rock, and brought it from just an idea to an organisation which a couple of years ago turned over €10 million – a mighty achievement. Bóthar started out as a one-off charity initiative of Limerick business people as part of the Treaty 300 celebrations to send dairy cows to families in Uganda.
Today Bóthar is a household name and has projects in 35 different countries and uses 16 different types of livestock.
Bóthar began with just a small office at 99 O’Connell Street with Peter and one employee, and now has its headquarters in Limerick with offices in Kampala, Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Sligo.
Peter’s unique life experience seemed to prepare him for Bóthar. He farmed with his uncle Kevin Culhane – at the time one of Ireland’s most progressive farmers and before his death, vice-chairman of Bóthar. Peter, through his working with Kevin, was involved in exporting thorough-bred horses and pedigree cows to the US, Canada and Australia. It was this experience that gave him the knowledge and experience to allow him to establish Bóthar, as he had the contacts in the animal shipping business.
Peter is well known around Limerick and was also the secretary for the Limerick Show and the Adare Game and Country Fair, which he ran for many years and which thrived under his organisational capacity and ability to deal with huge committees and still get impressive results. The Limerick Show also gave him many contacts in the farming community which gave him a great base from which to launch Bóthar. Peter stood down as chief executive in 2011, calling for new blood and fresh thinking to enter the charity sector.
Commenting on Peter’s achievement at Bóthar, Chairman John Finucane said:
“There are tens of thousands of families across the globe who are living testament to the incredible work that Peter Ireton has achieved over the years. He almost single-handedly took Bóthar from a once-off event to become the second largest organisation in the world involved in livestock aid.”