Farm Ireland

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Countrywomen's Association member seeks High Court injunction over election ballot papers

Tim Healy

A member of the Irish Country Women's Association (ICA) is seeking a High Court injunction preventing the organisation from destroying ballot papers returned for its recent elections for executive positions including National President.

The action has been brought by Patricia Madden, a barrister of Saint Mobhi Road in Glasnevin, Dublin 9.   

On Friday a lawyer for the ICA gave an undertaking to the court not to destroy the ballots. 

Ms Madden seeks an injunction restraining the ICA from destroying or interfering in any way with ballot papers returned for the organisation's 2018 national elections for positions president, secretary, treasurer as well as for regional presidential positions.   

In a sworn statement, Ms Madden said the action has been brought due to her, and other members, concerns about the elections for the various positions over alleged breaches of the ICA's constitution over the last number of months. 

She said that votes for the various positions were submitted by post, with a closing date of April 27 last. 

The ballot papers, she said, have not been counted and a declaration has not been made as to the names of the successful candidates, which she claims is in breach of the ICA's constitution. 

The results of the election should have been announced before its AGM, which was held in Athlone on May 26 last.  

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She brought the action because it was "intimated to me" by the chair of the ICA's Procedures Committee that the ballot papers would be destroyed at the first available opportunity.  

Many members are concerned by the manner how the elections have been handled and want the ballots secured.  

The votes she said are currently being held in at a post office box in Ballsbridge, and at the ICA HQ in Dublin. 

Representing herself, Ms Madden, who has been a member of the ICA since 1979 and has served on the National Executive as an elected member for Leinster, previously secured permission from the High Court to serve short notice of the proceedings on the ICA.

When the matter returned before Ms Justice Carmel Stewart on Friday, a solicitor for the ICA gave an undertaking to the court that the ballots would not be destroyed. 

The solicitor also asked the court for time to respond to the claim.  

The Judge adjourned the matter to later this month. 

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