Farm Ireland

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Tensions grow over removal of ICSA pair

Martin Ryan

Tensions are mounting within the ICSA over the removal of two senior officers from the association.

Peter Fox and Tom Egan were removed as chairman and vice-chairman respectively of the ICSA's beef committee earlier this summer.

Lawyers for the two are now believed to be examining the rules of the association to determine if the correct procedures were adhered to during their removal from office.

The dispute centres on the open opposition of the beef committee to the quality payment system (QPS) for cattle. This position runs counter to the ICSA's stated support for the beef grid.

Both Mr Fox and Mr Egan were removed from office earlier this month by the ICSA's national executive as a result of their stance on the QPS but they have refused to accept this decision.

A solicitor travelled from Dublin to represent the two officials at a beef committee meeting in Portlaoise last week but was refused entry.

The meeting was delayed for some time as officials tried to get someone to chair the gathering, before William Reid from Offaly finally agreed to fill the role.

A spokesperson for the ICSA confirmed that the beef committee was still without a chairman or vice-chairman, but he insisted that both the beef meeting and a meeting of the national executive later the same evening had been "constructive".

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However, in a move which highlighted the extent of the divide within the farmer body, the beef committee meeting unanimously endorsed its previous decision to reject the QPS and called for the association's national executive to withdraw their support for the payment system.

It is understood that ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin later rejected a call at the national executive that both Mr Fox and Mr Egan be reinstated.

Irish Independent