Farm Ireland

Thursday 24 May 2018

Critical week for IFA elections as race heats up

IFA deputy Tim O’Leary. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
IFA deputy Tim O’Leary. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke

Martin Ryan

The race for the positions of deputy president and the four regional chairmen is set to intensify this week

Monaghan based, Nigel Renaghan, chairman of the IFA national poultry committee is the only 'definite' on the ballot paper.

Outgoing deputy president, Tim O'Leary is expected to break his silence on his intentions later today following a meeting of the Cork Central Executive last night.

IFA liquid milk chairman, Teddy Cashman, a son of former IFA President, Donal Cashman (Cork), has ruled himself out because of his commitment to other involvements including the chairmanship of the National Dairy Council.

The first votes in the election will be cast at Adare tomorrow night when former IFA dairy chairman, Richard Kennedy, competes for the Limerick Executive nomination for deputy president against Pallaskenry farmer, Donal O'Brien, who was outspoken on the recent pay controversy in the IFA.

Connacht regional chairman, Tom Turley is being challenged for the nomination from within his own county of Galway where Bertie Roche from Abbey, Galway, was also proposed and seconded at a Galway Executive meeting last week.

A ballot will be held when the executive meet on Thursday night.

Mayo County Executive were meeting last night with the nomination of a candidate on the agenda and county chairman, Padraic Joyce expected to be the favoured choice.

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In North Leinster and Ulster, outgoing chairman Bert Stewart, who has been nominated by his own Monaghan Executive and neighbouring Cavan, says he is 'confident' of being a candidate and may be the only regional chairman unopposed.

South Leinster's outgoing chairman, James Murphy has been nominated by Kilkenny and believes that he will have no difficulty in getting enough support to become a candidate.

IFA business committee chairman, Tom Doyle has been nominated by Wexford and is also confident of getting the required support to contest the election. Munster's outgoing chairman, James McCarthy (Kerry) said that he is still 'considering' his position and will make a decision "within the next few days."

Lobbies are being well washed down ahead of polling day

The IFA has experienced a torrid few months but it is getting back to doing what it does best - lobbying.

But the business of pushing agendas on behalf of members has to be a transparent exercise these days with all lobbyist organisations required to register details of any Government politicians and senior civil servants it lobbies.

After an open lobbying day in Buswells Hotel in Dublin last week, the IFA said it was a major exercise detailing all contacts with ministers, Government TDs and senior public officials ahead of the registration deadline of January 21.

The ICMSA said that having to upload lobbying details to the website was an additional administrative burden.

Macra has detailed a number of contacts on the website, including lobbying the Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney at its national rally.

Galway branches defer decision on 'split'

A final decision on a proposal by 19 branches in North Galway to form their own executive has been deferred until after the forthcoming IFA elections.

Cathal Joyce, chairman of Cortoon-Lavally branch, told the Farming Independent that the scale of the county was one of the issues at the core of the concern by farmers in North Galway that their voice was not getting enough recognition at meetings.

"Galway is a very big county. There are 78 IFA branches and to be honest with the best will in the world it is difficult for us to have all views aired at a meeting and some of the farmers feel that branches in the north of the county would get a better hearing if they had their own executive," he said.

However, he added that "there is concern that a split in the county at this time would not help Joe Healy in his bid for the presidency. The county is fully behind him and the feeling at last week's meeting was that splitting now was not the right thing to do."

Technically it is permissible within the rules of the association for a group of branches to form their own executive.

Currently the Galway County Executive has the largest number of branches of any executive in the country.

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