Getting rank-and-file members out to vote may be the biggest challenge for IFA contenders

IFA President Joe Healy
IFA President Joe Healy
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

While it's far too early to consider who might have a chance of actually winning the IFA presidency, what is interesting are the activities of the declared and undeclared candidates.

This could be a costly campaign for the losers, and given the president's salary is €120,000, one wonders if even the successful candidate will recoup all their costs.

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John Coughlan may have left his official declaration until last night, but he has been working the circuit of the summer agricultural shows for many weeks.

For a man who said he hadn't made up his mind on whether to run or not, he and a number of supporters kept themselves busy in recent weeks. The round trip to Virginia Show was nearly 500km, but it's nothing compared to the mileage Angus Woods and Tim Cullinan have clocked up.

Former general secretary Michael Berkery has backed Cullinan, while Woods officially launches tonight in Wicklow and has celebrity chef and neighbour Catherine Fulvio in his corner.

Brady's campaign has been much more low key, although the Cavan man is understood to have some experienced advisors in his camp. His opening gambit focused on his intention to unite farmers and reform the association.

But it may take more than experienced advisors to get over the second hurdle and secure the required number of backing counties in the coming weeks.

With 29 county chairs (Cork has three and Tipperary two), the politics of getting nominations and votes may prove more vital than the spend.

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Each candidate will need the backing of their own county, plus five others, to actually enter the race.

Getting the ordinary members out to vote may prove the most difficult obstacle all candidates face.

Indo Farming


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