Farm Ireland

Sunday 21 January 2018

Intriguing fight for deputy role

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

The contest for the position of IFA deputy president could well be the most intriguing of the current IFA contests.

The late arrival of Cork dairy farmer Tim O'Leary into the fray has put it up to Wexford's JJ Kavanagh.

The contrast between the two is stark. Mr Kavanagh is a drystock farmer from tough farming country in the hills north of New Ross who has spent the last decade in county and national roles for the IFA, with his most recent stint as national treasurer.

Mr O'Leary is a well established dairy farmer based near Cork city.

He has not held any prominent IFA positions in recent years, but many across the country will be familiar with the O'Leary family through Mr O'Leary's wife's column in the Farmers' Journal.

There is an undercurrent of feeling that Mr Kavanagh could be rewarded for the work he has performed on behalf of the IFA over the last decade.

But there is also a growing belief among dairy farmers that the sector needs to have 'one of its own' who is able to call the shots at the top of the organisation.

Whether connections and powerful speeches can carry Mr O'Leary past the current front-runner in Mr Kavanagh remains to be seen.

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Irish Independent