Farm Ireland

Tuesday 21 November 2017

High Court blocks farm organisation treasurer in bid to hold onto position

James Reynolds. Photo: Tom Burke
James Reynolds. Photo: Tom Burke

Tim Healy

THE High Court has dismissed an application by National Party co-founder James Reynolds to continue an injunction preventing the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) from removing him from senior positions he had held with the organisation.  

The ICSA said it had decided to remove Mr Reynolds as a member of the Longford County Executive, its National Executive and as the national treasurer because of his involvement with the National Party which it described as being "in the mode of right wing European Movements." 

Mr Reynolds opposed the ICSA's action against him and argued it was not entitled to remove him.

In his proceedings against the ICSA, which has 10,000 members, he claimed the procedures it engaged in to remove him were unfair and would damage his reputation.  

Earlier this year Mr Reynolds, of Rorkes Drift, Laughill Coolarty, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, secured a temporary injunction restraining the ICSA from taking any steps to remove him. 

On Tuesday, his lawyers sought to extend the injunction until the matter has been fully determined by the court. 

The ICSA argued that the injunction should be dismissed.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan was satisfied not to put an injunction in place until the dispute had been determined. 

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He noted that the ICSA  held a special meeting last November to discuss Mr Reynold's involvement in the National Party which is opposed to unrestricted immigration, is anti-abortion and favours the reintroduction of the death penalty for certain crimes. 

Noting the break down in the relationship between the two parties, the judge said "the views of the National  Party are in direct conflict and are at odds to those of the ICSA."  

The Judge said ICSA members were unhappy and had to distance itself from comments Mr Reynolds posted on social media and comments about politicians and people in public life, using words like crooked and treason, as well as comments he made about the Church of Ireland. 

Mr Reynolds had also gone on Claire Byrne Live TV programme, where he spoke on behalf of the National Party, and criticised the efforts of the Irish Naval Service in rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean. 

Mr Reynolds had also said that RTE and Newstalk published fake news stories . 

The ICSA, as a lobby group, seeks good relations with elected public officials, public servants and the media, the a judge said.  

It does not support or endorse any political party, and it believed Mr Reynolds had used his position to gain air time and traction for the National Party, he said. 

In these circumstances alone, the balance of convenience did not favour the granting of an injunction, he said.

He had also not made out a strong case  case that was likely to succeed.  The judge was also was satisfied an award of damages would be an adequate remedy in the case if it succeeded. 

The judge also awarded the ICSA its legal costs of the application.

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