Viewpoint: This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for change
Published 02/12/2015 | 02:30
Why do IFA leaders still begrudge Derek Deane's ultimately successful attempts to expose the excess that lay at the heart of the IFA?
I listened carefully to comments from two of the key players in this affair lament Mr Deane's decision to go public on the problem.
Both Tim O'Leary and Jer Bergin insist that they were literally days away from bringing the problem to a head internally, and thus avoiding the "debacle in the full glare of the media" that has ensued.
To me, this exposes a leadership that still hasn't realised the great service that the brave Carlow chairman has done the organisation.
Yes, the last week has been incredibly painful for the IFA. But the catharsis that the scrutiny of the public eye should bring has the potential to usher in a whole new era for the organisation.
Without the public humiliation of the last fortnight, the organisation would have been content to continue swatting away queries about either salaries or policies.
They could afford to ignore the 'cranks' such as the Farming Independent, the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers' Association, disaffected barley and poultry farmers, those affected by hen harrier protection zones, and thousands of small farmers who realised belatedly that they could have pushed harder for a bigger chunk of CAP funds.
Instead, a real conversation has begun among farmers about what kind of organisation they want to represent them. Difficult issues about how the organisation should be funded are being thrashed out in a much more open way than could ever have happened otherwise.