Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 28 May 2017

Farmers planning protest outside IFA headquarters

Moves have been afoot to delay voting for several months, as the farm body tries to recover from the pay controversy that saw former general secretary Pat Smith step down. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
Moves have been afoot to delay voting for several months, as the farm body tries to recover from the pay controversy that saw former general secretary Pat Smith step down. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

Hundreds of farmers are expected to protest outside a crucial meeting of the IFA this week as the body begins the process of electing a new president.

In the wake of the damaging pay controversy, farmers from Limerick and north Galway are expected to be joined by others from around the country tomorrow to voice their anger at the way the organisation has been run.

Farmer Donal O'Brien, from Pallaskenry, Co Limerick, said he had received strong support from across the country for the protest at IFA headquarters in Bluebell, Dublin.

"We want to express our concerns over the board and start again with a new board," Mr O'Brien said. "We're not worried about numbers - if there are 50 or there are 1,000.

"Pulling subscriptions is not the way forward," he said. "I think our fathers and forefathers would want us to fight for the organisation."

In the immediate aftermath of the release of a report from former IFA chief economist Con Lucey detailing governance measures to be put in place, the national council passed a motion of confidence in the executive board.

However, in recent days further pressure has mounted on the six-man IFA executive board, as a number of counties passed various motions looking for the board to resign.

IFA Munster regional chairman James McCarthy, one of the six-man executive board, said the four regional IFA chairs indicated they would step aside if that was the meeting's decision.

He said farmers in Munster wanted the presidential election to get under way as soon as is feasible, while allowing for debates at county level.

The race to be the next IFA president is now in full swing, with all the potential candidates due to lodge their nominations by this Wednesday.

Each candidate must get the nomination of their own county and the backing of five other county chairs - meaning a maximum of four candidates can secure the numbers. But seven are seeking nominations.

Tomorrow's meeting will see the national council vote on changes to the current rules, which would allow the council to decide on when to stage the election by a majority vote.

Moves have been afoot to delay voting for several months, as the farm body tries to recover from the pay controversy that saw former general secretary Pat Smith and former president Eddie Downey step down.

Irish Independent