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Wednesday 15 August 2018

It's a Super Tuesday of elections for IFA jobs

Final nominations are also being submitted today for the position of national treasurer.
Pic: Justin Farrelly.
Final nominations are also being submitted today for the position of national treasurer. Pic: Justin Farrelly.
James Murphy
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

It is a case of Super Tuesday in the IFA today as a raft of the association's national commodity committees meet to pick chairmen for the next four years.

Final nominations are also being submitted today for the position of national treasurer, with four candidates expected to be in the running for the role.

The three commodity chairs up for decision today are those of the dairy committee, the hill committee and the sheep committee.

Sources within IFA maintain that the dairy position will be taken over by the current vice-chair, who is Tom Phelan from Laois.

Sean Dennehy from Cork Central has been linked with the position of sheep chair, while Kerry's Flor McCarthy, who was a candidate in 2016 for IFA president, is rumoured to be taking the helm at the hill committee.

Another position which has to be filled this week is that of animal health chair. South Tipperary's, TJ Maher, and Pat Farrell from Kildare are among those tipped for the role.

Meanwhile, Mark Browne from Wexford has been mentioned for the position of national grain chairman, which is also expected to be decided this week.

In other IFA news, nominations for the position of national treasurer close today. The race to succeed Jer Bergin, who has completed his term in the post, has attracted a strong field, with four high-profile candidates due to battle it out.

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These include Galway county chair Pat Murphy; outgoing national dairy committee chair Sean O'Leary; outgoing North Tipperary chair Tim Cullinan; and James Murphy (below), the outgoing chair of the association's renewables project team.

The outgoing farm family and social affairs chair, Maura ­Canning, had been talked of as another potential candidate but she ruled herself out of the race yesterday. Ms Canning has been co-opted back on to the farm family and social affairs committee, and she said that she wanted to continue her work on the Fair Deal Scheme. She is being replaced as chair of the committee by Caroline Farrell from Kildare.

The battle for treasurer will be a fascinating contest as all four candidates are viewed as heavy hitters within the IFA.

The vote is confined to IFA national council members, which number around 55, and will take place at the association's AGM next Tuesday, January 16.

The difficult task facing the new incumbent was highlighted last week when it was confirmed that the IFA recorded an operating loss of €1.4m to the end of March 2017.

Meanwhile, Edmond Lynch from Ladysbridge in east Cork was elected vice-chairman of Dairygold yesterday and the former vice-chairman John O'Gorman from Clougheen, Co Tipperary was elected chair last week.

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