Speculation on IFA presidential hopefuls continuing to intensify

Angus Woods
Angus Woods

Martin Ryan

Speculation on the line out of contenders for the IFA leadership is continuing to intensify as the potential candidates measure grass root support before officially declaring for the contest.

No candidate has officially declared in the race for the county nominations required to become a candidate in the election of the next president of IFA the outcome of which will be decided by the 72,000 members who each have a vote in the December 2018 election.

"There are so many complex issues with farming at the moment, and a lot of anger among livestock farmers in particular, the potential candidates are trying to shorten the (election) campaign by delaying official declarations" an IFA insider explained.

"One of the biggest challenges for the IFA this time could be to get the livestock farmers in particular out to vote because so many of them have lost confidence in the organisation to represent them" they added,  pointing out that the distribution of the €100m fund could be very divisive.

Munster chairman, John Coughlan (Cork),  National Treasurer, Tim Cullinane (Tipperary North) and National Livestock Chairman, Angus Woods (Wicklow) are each now considered to be odds-on candidates to contest the election for President, although all as yet keeping their intentions very close to their chests.

Former national treasuer, Jer Bergin (Laois) is understood to have been put under intense pressure from fellow farmers in recent weeks to allow his name to be included in the contenders for the nominations.

He told 'Farming Independent' that "I am not going to deny that I have been contacted, but it is a very big decision and I haven't made up my mind yet"  validating the reports that he is an evens or better bet to be in the running.

Rural Development Chairman,  Joe Brady (Cavan) has "not ruled out" seeking the nominations according to very close associates, while the outgoing Deputy President, Richard Kennedy (Limerick) is understood to also being "very interested" in a bid for the higher position and assessing grass root support.

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Easing in the odds is Business Chairman, Martin Stapleton (Limerick)  understood to have privately decided against running in this election, but will concentrate on his further progess through the ranks of the IFA.

The nomination of their own county, plus the support of at least five other county executives is required to become a candidate in the election, restricting the potential ballot paper to four candidates from the 29 county executives.

In the line out for the Deputy Presidency,  Thomas Cooney (Cavan) Environment and Rural Affairs Chairman has declared  that he will be seeking nominations, and odd-on to be in the running to have their names added to the ballot paper are Padraig Joyce (Mayo) Connaught Regional Chairman and Kildare County Chairman, Brian Rushe, a substantial dairy producer.

The candidates for Deputy President each also require the support of six county executives.

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