'Get out and vote' - IFA candidates
Published 06/04/2016 | 02:30
Candidates in the IFA presidential election have urged farmers to come out and vote as early indications indicate a low turnout at the ballot boxes.
Seasoned campaign activists believe the turnout could be down by up to 25pc on the 2013 election, as farmers vent their anger and disappointment over the pay controversy within the body.
The turnout at branches for the first three nights of the ballot varied widely throughout the country, from an estimated 90pc turnout to less than 10pc in other areas, with stronger turnouts in areas boasting candidates.
Galway candidate Joe Healy said the reports of very low turnouts at some branch ballots was a worrying development for IFA. "We have only one chance to reform the IFA and that is in this election. I have said this throughout the campaign and I am as certain of it now as I was at the start," Mr Healy said.
"The 12pc drop in levies since last autumn, along with the 4,500 lapsed and cancelled memberships, confirms that the IFA is facing very significant difficulties."
He said the future of the organisation is in the members' hands and by casting their ballots they can influence how the IFA conducts its business in future.
Kerry's Flor McCarthy urged IFA members to use the opportunity to use their vote to reunite the association and focus it on listening to members concerns on the ground and getting real improvement in farm incomes.
Mr McCarthy said he understood that some farmers are annoyed with IFA in the wake of the controversies of the past year, but he said farmers need a unified IFA, with a strong effective president, to tackle the huge issues facing farming, farm families and rural communities like never before.