MEATH man Eddie Downey has been appointed the new leader of the Irish Farmers Association in a hotly contested vote.
Downey held a commanding lead over Jer Bergin from Laois, as the count in the farm body’s presidential came to a close in the Castleknock Hotel, Dublin.
Downey won with 1079 votes, compared with Bergin’s 779 votes.
The margin of the victory for Mr Downey, who was deputy president of the IFA for the last four years, has taken some pundits by surprise as Mr Bergin had put in massive push over the last fortnight of the campaign.
Mr Downey will take over as IFA president from John Bryan who finishes his term at the association's AGM in January.