Members from over 70 IFA branches around the country will vote tonight (Tues) as balloting to elect the next President of the Irish Farmers Association begins.
IFA has organised all 947 branches to meet between tonight and Wednesday, December 16th to discuss the business and issues of farming and to vote in democratic elections for the position of President.
Over 87,000 members are invited to their local Branch meeting and they will hold Government Ministers and TDs accountable for maintaining investment in vital Farm Schemes.
Among the branches to vote on the first night are Ardrahan, Co Galway and Banagher, Co Offaly, both of which have been seriously affected by the recent flooding. IFA National Returning Officer Ruaidhri Deasy said he expected a large turnout despite the recent difficulties that farmers have experienced in the area. He said, “members of IFA take the election of a President very seriously and will be anxious to have their say in deciding who succeeds Padraig Walshe to become the 13th President of the IFA. Our members have turned out in force to come to the assistance of neighbours in the last week, and they will do likewise over the next fortnight to vote.”
Other branches to vote tonight include Achill Island in Mayo, Valentia Island in Co Kerry, Malin in Donegal, Bere Island in Co Cork, Drumshambo, Co Leitrim, Bannow, Co Wexford and Arva-Gowna, Co Cavan.
The series of IFA Presidential debates came to a close last night, when IFA members in Wexford and Wicklow hosted the final gathering of the candidates at the Wexford Farm Centre in Enniscorthy.
Mr Deasy said “with the weighted branch voting system, there’s an added incentive to have as many of our members voting as possible. Each branch will be weighted with 1 or 4 votes in the national ballot based on the turnout of members so it will reward the branches that get the vote out on the night.”
Three candidates are running to succeed Padraig Walshe. They are John Bryan, Chairman of Kilkenny IFA, Derek Deane, Deputy President and Richard Kennedy, Chairman of the National Dairy Committee. Each has set up a website as part of their campaigns. For further information, log onto www.johnbryan.ie, www.derekdeane.ie and richardkennedy2009.ie.The next President of IFA will take office at the Annual General Meeting on January 12th, 2010.