Farm Ireland

Friday 24 November 2017

Six vote against Smith in IFA council ballot ructions

IFA General Secretary Pat Smith (left) pictured with IFA President Eddie Downey. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
IFA General Secretary Pat Smith (left) pictured with IFA President Eddie Downey. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Six delegates initially voted against a motion expressing full confidence in Pat Smith as general secretary of the IFA at last week's heated national council meeting.

The Farming Independent understands the motion, which was proposed by IFA president Eddie Downey and voted on by a show of hands, was opposed by six delegates. Up to eight others abstained in the vote.

However, the ballot was easily carried, with close to 30 delegates giving their backing to the motion.

It was at this stage that a further motion was proposed, which called on the council to give Mr Smith unanimous support, and this was carried.

The late spate of votes followed a dramatic morning, when a scheduled discussion of a Laois motion questioning the performance of Mr Smith as general secretary was abandoned when Carlow county chairman Derek Deane put down a no confidence motion in the general secretary. It was signed by four county representatives, Mr Deane, Pat Farrell of Kildare, Pat Hennessy of Laois and Tim Cullinan of North Tipperary.

IFA sources said the meeting degenerated into a shambles at this stage, with legal advice finally being sought to establish if the motion was valid.

The Deane motion was eventually withdrawn when it became apparent it did not have the necessary support to be carried.

However, IFA insiders said that while Mr Smith has the support of national council at the moment, the Deane motion had been extremely embarrassing for him. It also remained a live issue, they said, as it could be re-tabled at a future date.

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IFA president Eddie Downey said his full attention and that of the IFA general secretary and executive council was focused on addressing the real issues of concern to the well being of farm families.

Indo Farming