High Court orders fresh elections for Irish Countrywomen's Association

Tim Healy

The High Court has ruled that the Irish Country Women's Association (ICA) must hold fresh elections for positions on its national executive within the next two months. 

Ms Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh said, in order to best meet the exceptional circumstances that occurred within the ICA, the new elections must take place and the results announced before September 30 next. 

While the judge said the ICA had breached its constitution arising out of elections earlier this year, the persons currently on the organisation's national executive should remain in place until the new election has been completed.  

The Judge was giving her conclusions in an action brought by ICA member Patricia Madden over the conduct of elections for the national executive.

Ms Madden, a barrister of St Mobhi Road, Glasnevin, Dublin, claimed the organisation breached its constitution when it failed to count ballots cast by its membership in advance of its AGM last May.

She claimed the ICA should have declared the winners of the election at the AGM for positions, including national president, for a term of office from 2018 to 2021

She claimed that procedures adopted and decisions by the ICA at its AGM, and an earlier EGM, as well as a meeting of its national executive, were contrary to its constitution.

The ICA accepted there were problems with the ballot papers for the 2018 elections which it wanted to rectify.

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It made proposals would allow the ICA move forward including holding fresh elections later this year, but Mr Madden had rejected its proposals. 

The Judge said she would give reasons for her decision in a written judgment at a later date. 

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