Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Thursday 23 November 2017

IFA members to face procedure change over election processes

Martin Ryan

The IFA rank-and-file membership could lose voting rights in the election of some top ranking officers under a revision of election procedures being considered by the organisation.

The IFA rules and privileges committee has been mandated by the organisation's national executive to draft an outline of changes to procedures.

There is increasing concern within the organisation at the escalating scale of expenditure by candidates engaging in the election process.

It is estimated that the overall cost of the election for president, deputy president and four regional vice-presidents, which take place every four years, is now close to €1m.

The organisation is considering a recommendation that voting in the election of the four regional vice-presidents be confined to official branch delegates, which would eliminate the requirement for candidates to engage in a personal canvass of every member within each region.

The number of official branch delegates generally varies between one and four depending on the size of the branch. The proposed changes, if adopted, would facilitate the canvas being conducted at county level.

It is the only major Irish farm organisation in which the full membership has a vote in the election of president, deputy president and regional vice-presidents.

In both the ICMSA and ICSA the positions of president and deputy president are elected by national councils, comprising of county delegates.

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Nevertheless any attempt to restrict the voice of all IFA members in their election of national officers is certain to meet with opposition.

It is understood that consideration is also being given to possible reform of the procedure for the election of president and deputy president.

While it is felt that some streamlining of the exhaustive process is necessary, it is understood that there is no intention of changing the electorate, which currently comprises of every paid up member.

Nearly 34,000 farmers voted in the last IFA Presidential election in December 2009 in which there were three candidates for the leadership.

JJ Kavanagh, chairman for the rules and recommendations committee, said there were a number of good reasons for proposing the changes, among them being the association's desire to elevate the status of county executive members and especially branch officers by giving them more responsibility.

Indo Farming