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Beef Plan leaders admit question marks over funds

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Eamon Corley addresses farmers in Holycross

Eamon Corley addresses farmers in Holycross

Eamon Corley addresses farmers in Holycross

Question marks now hang over Beef Plan and the monies it raised around the country from farmers at its meetings.

The leaders of the Beef Plan Movement have admitted to their members, via WhatsApp messages, that "there is the possibility that some people may have mislaid or failed to return forms".

Co-chair Eamon Corley said in a statement on Sunday: "As regards membership and registration in hindsight it was a mistake not to give receipts to everyone who paid. I can say that all forms and money I received I handed them all in. I know the same to be true for (co-chair) Hugh Doyle.

"However, with probably an average of 10 people per county collecting registration forms and money - that's over 250 people nationwide - there is the possibility that some people may have mislaid or failed to return forms."

Earlier this month the Beef Plan co-chairs told the Farming Independent that an independent audit of the group's accounts would take place.

It comes after Doyle and Corley issued a statement saying that they were standing down the national committee, regional committees and sub-committees and establishing an interim national committee.

However, on Sunday, the 'stood-down' national committee held an EGM in Portlaoise. The co-chairs say this meeting was not validated by the company secretary or validly notified to the members, and claimed it was not an official Beef Plan gathering.

"Any business conducted at that meeting will not be valid or binding in any way and may be detrimental to maintaining a unified voice for all farmer members of Beef Plan," Corley said in a statement.

Corley had also called on members not to attend Sunday's meeting - "the purpose of which is to misinform people as to what is going on and to divide this organisation further". He said the solution to the "mess" in the group was for it to hold AGMs.

He also called on members to "draw a line under all personal attacks within the organisation". "We have bent over backways to reason with this group of people. It is not as if we haven't tried our best to work with these people - we have. It appears to be their way or the highway."

No confidence vote in Beef Plan leaders

Motions of no confidence in Hugh Doyle and Eamon Corley were carried at a meeting of Beef Plan Movement members held in Portlaoise on Sunday.

It comes after weeks of fractious division and infighting in the organisation. The meeting was organised by the national committee which was 'stood down' on January 4 by co-chairs Doyle and Corley - who said the meeting was "not valid or binding".

Sunday's meeting heard that no member of the 'stood-down' national committee has been furnished with any details of the alleged "serious disciplinary issues" the co-chairs claimed were brought to their attention.

The stood-down national committee said in a statement after the meeting that they considered the membership of the organisation has given them their loud and clear direction on how to proceed.

The meeting organisers said there is no provision in the rules of governance that allows the chairperson 'stand down' the national committee.

It was also agreed at the meeting that to overcome the challenge imposed by the closing down of the organisation's WhatApp groups, each county committee would duplicate the pages in the county they are from and use these pages to communicate with the members in this way.

The elections for remaining counties will be held on the dates communicated by Corley.

At Sunday's meeting, members from counties that have concerns regarding the elections that have been held were invited to contact the national committee to share their concerns.

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