A Dairy farmer from Athenry in Co. Galway, Mr Joe Healy, has been elected as President of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), on the first count.
The post of ‘President’ became vacant following the stepping down, last year, by former President Mr Eddie Downey, after IFA members became angry following revelations of high salaries having been paid at Executive level. These same revelations sparked outrage amongst ordinary grass-roots members, which in turn brought about two high-profile resignations from within the organisation.
Mr Healy, initially regarded as the outsider, appeared almost immediately as the frontrunner, to take over as President of the Irish Farmers Association, when counting of votes began this morning; with first his preference votes appearing close to 50%.
Mr Healy, who promises more transparency and has pledged to rebuild trust within the IFA, is possibly observed by his electorate as offering a clear swing away from the current IFA establishment; himself having never served on the organisation’s national executive.
Mr Richard Kennedy, a dairy farmer from Clarina in north Co. Limerick and past Limerick County Chairman, was deemed elected as the new IFA Deputy President.
Mixed-enterprise farmer John Coughlan from Cork was elected Munster regional Chairperson (which includes Tipperary); while Mr Bert Stewart was returned (unopposed) as North Leinster-Ulster Regional Chairperson, as was indeed Mr James Murphy in South Leinster.