Race to be IFA president kicks off as board survive
The presidential race to lead the Irish Farmers' Association into a new era is under way, as members digest the report pinpointing a lack of corporate governance and dysfunction at the top of the association.
The executive board survived a vote of 'no confidence' put forward by a significant number of counties. It came in the aftermath of the recent turmoil that saw general secretary Pat Smith resign, followed by president Eddie Downey, amid a pay controversy.
Laois man Jer Bergin will take on the role of chairman to lead the association until a new president is elected.
"I want to rebuild trust and unity within the association as much as I can and get back to core issues," said the IFA national treasurer, who has ruled himself out of running in the next election.
"I see the Con Lucey report as the start of a process of reform, not the end all, but the beginning of a process. The executive council (has) gone back to the counties with the report. We'll set up an interpretation group for proposals and reform. That is part of rebuilding trust in the association."
The report from former chief economist Mr Lucey highlighted a view that power in the organisation had been centralised and sought to restore policy-making power to national committees.
It sought reforms to the internal governance of the body, setting out that the powerful position of general secretary should be divided - with a new post of secretary to deal with corporate governance.
It also highlighted that monies paid to IFA staff and elected representatives for membership of external boards should go to the farm body.