Farm group ICSA elects Wexford man as new president
Cattle and sheep farmer Patrick Kent concerned about low farm incomes
ICSA president-elect Patrick Kent, giving his acceptance speech after the vote at the Heritage Hotel in Portlaoise last night.
Wexford farmer Patrick Kent was elected president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association late last night after defeating the only other candidate - sitting president Gabriel Gilmartin. Mr Kent is a cattle and sheep farmer from New Ross, Co Wexford.
The electorate in the presidential race is made up of the 110 members of ICSA’s national executive. Mr Kent said he aimed to use his presidency to empower the organisation further and represent ICSA members as strongly as possible. His main priorities would include tackling the issue of low farming incomes and the sustainability of small family farms.
“I’m very proud to represent a sector of farming that is producing food of a quality that is unsurpassable - wholesome, nutritious food unlike the empty-caloried junk food that’s taking up so much space on retailers’ shelves,” he said. “Cheap, processed food has a high health cost and we must ensure that the benefits of our quality beef and lamb are promoted here at home and abroad.”
Mr Kent will take over from Mr Gilmartin, a sheep and suckler farmer from Sligo, at the ICSA AGM early next year. Mr Gilmartin has been president since 2009. This is a popular year for farm group elections. Young farmers ’ group Macra na Feirme elected its new president Kieran O’Dowd in April while the Irish Farmers’ Association will elect its next president next Tuesday. Eddie Downey, from Slane, Co Meath, and Jer Bergin, from Ballacolla, Co Laois are contesting that election. The successful candidate will take over from John Bryan in January. Mr Bryan is expected to announce his intention to run for the European Parliament elections after he steps down.