Publication: Tyrone Constitution
Date: 6 January 2022
Author: Darren Beattie
THE Ulster Unionist Party candidate for West Tyrone in the upcoming Assembly elections, Ian Marshall, is to receive an OBE.
The Markethill man was included in the New Year Honours List for Public and Political Service.
For Mr Marshall, the idea of being in receipt of an OBE is something he never would have contemplated.
Speaking after the announcement, he said: "I'm honoured and humbled to receive this recognition for Public and Political Service. This award means a lot to me.
"I will continue to advocate for fairness and equality across all communities. Our work to make Northern Ireland a better place must be underpinned by our desire for long lasting peace and reconciliation.
"We must use every opportunity to build on progress made to shape a future where everyone feels proud of who they are, while respecting others."
Following his selection as the UUP candidate for West Tyrone in the upcoming Assembly elections, Mr Marshall said he is "really looking forward to meeting and listening to the people in the constituency and to discussing how we can make life better for everyone and how their views and priorities can be best represented in the Assembly".
Mr Marshall has over 35 years' experience across business and all sectors of the agri-food industry, coupled with a comprehensive knowledge of business and the challenges in NI, the UK, in Ireland, and across Europe.
Educated at the Royal School Armagh and then Greenmount College, he went on to complete an Msc in Agri-Food Business Development in 2009 at Ulster University and Babson College Boston, USA, and completed training as a Professional Member of the Institute of Agricultural Management through the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester.
He currently works in the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) in Queen's University Belfast, as the Business Development Manager, linking research and development with the industry in food security and integrity, food, health and nutrition, and farms of the future.
As a former president of the Ulster Farmers Union, he has worked extensively between Belfast, London and Brussels representing farming and rural interests.
He was also a member of the Agri-Food Strategy Board for Northern Ireland responsible for developing the ‘Going for Growth' strategy document as a template to grow and develop the industry to maximise opportunities and realise future industry potential within NI and farther afield.
Over an extensive time in business and public life, he has represented a number of organisations and public bodies including IGFS Industry Development Board QUB, NFU Mutual, Agrisearch, Lantra, YFCU, College Advisory Board to CAFRE, and the Red Tractor Ownership Body.
Mr Marshall was elected as an Independent Ulster Unionist Senator in 2018 to Seanad Eireann, making history as the first ever Ulster Unionist elected to the upper chamber of the Irish Parliament, serving from 2018-2020.
As well as his work within the Irish Senate, he served on the Committee for the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the Joint Committee for Climate Change and Environment, and the Joint Committee for Rural and Community Development.
This unique position within the Seanad created a platform to build relationships and facilitate cooperation across the island and between two islands, north, south, east and west, across many areas of business, trade, and education, focusing on uniting people and working better together.
This work was enhanced and supported with his role as part of the British Irish Association (BIA), and with his experience having represented the Irish Government on the British Irish Parliamentary Association (BIPA).
Focusing on the future Mr Marshall, said that he was "immensely proud of his unionist culture and identity and hoped to continue working tirelessly to build and strengthen relations between Northern Ireland and the UK and between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, to make Northern Ireland and especially West Tyrone, a vibrant progressive place where everyone can prosper".