Grassroots register their silent protest
Just one in three IFA members vote in presidential election
Published 19/04/2016 | 02:30
Less than one in three members of the Irish Farmers' Association are estimated to have voted in the association's presidential elections.
Early tallies from senior officers nationwide estimate the number of farmers casting their ballot has slumped significantly to approximately 25,000 of the 75,501 voting members.
The outcome of the election has been described as "too close to call" by veteran IFA officials ahead of the final count today.
Apathy and complacency among the membership are being cited by branch officers as some of the reasons for the low turnout in the elections prompted by the crisis that saw former general secretary Pat Smith leave the organisation after it emerged his pay package amounted to almost €1m over two years.
Former President Eddie Downey also stepped down after the pay controversy erupted late last year.
Some branches told the Farming Independent their members were "fed up" with the revelations about the IFA, while others said the busy spring period was a factor in the low turnout.
IFA national chairman Jer Bergin said there were a number of factors affecting the turnout - including the spring workload.