Eddie Downey named as the 14th IFA president
Meath man Eddie Downey has been elected as the new president to the Irish Farmers Association this evening as vote counting ended in Castleknock.
Deputy president Mr Downey (52), and Leinster vice-president Jer Bergin (49) from Ballacolla, Co Laois were the two candidates in the running to become the 14th IFA president.
Slane-based Mr Downey had slightly tipped the voting scales throughout the day, but Mr Bergin, who hails from Ballacolla, always followed closely behind.
The final tally of the votes came in at 1,079 versus 779 in favour of Mr Downey.
With a mass membership with over 88.000 Irish farmers, the IFA has 946 branches countrywide, helping to reach every rural parish in Ireland.
Voting in the contest to replace outgoing president John Bryan closed on Friday night, with an impressive 945 of the 946 branches voting.
Downey had said that his key objectives in his role going forward will be to secure fair pricing for farmers and to minimise bureaucracy in farming.
Meanwhile, one of Bergin's key aims was cited as the restoration of the charter of rights for farmers “which has been effectively demolished in the last four years”.
Both men have been through a tough campaign, travelling thousands of miles to canvass farmers and attending a total of 13 head-to-head debates.
Tensions also ran high in the Deputy Presidential race, in which JJ Kavanagh and Tim O'Leary are toughed it out for the role.
Cork Central farm business representative Mr O'Leary finally claimed the title, notching up 937 votes versus 918, a close count against the association’s national treasurer Mr Kavanagh.
James McCarthy from Kerry was elected earlier today as the first Munster IFA Regional Chairman.
The successful candidates will take up their roles at the association’s AGM on January 14th.