Meath farmer wins race to be next IFA president

Eddie Downey was a key member of the IFA team that sourced fodder abroad during the crisis this year

Eddie Downey addresses tonight’s IFA  meeting in the Castleknock Hotel after his election as the association’s next president. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Eddie Downey addresses tonight’s IFA meeting in the Castleknock Hotel after his election as the association’s next president. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Tue, Dec 17, 2013, 19:31

Eddie Downey from Slane, Co Meath has been elected as the next president of the Irish Farmers’ Association. He received 1,079 votes in the election while his rival, Jer Bergin from Ballacolla, Co Laois received 779 votes.

In a surprise result, Tim O’Leary, from Carrigrohane, Co Cork was elected deputy president, beating JJ Kavanagh from New Ross by just 19 votes.

Mr Downey farms 140 acres with his son Patrick and wife Mary at Monknewtown, Slane, Co Meath. Their main enterprises are suckling, tillage and poultry.

Mr Downey is currently deputy president of IFA, and has held many positions in the organisation since he became involved 20 years ago. He was a key member of the IFA crisis team that sourced fodder abroad during the crisis this year.

His campaign focused on issues such as securing fair and transparent prices for farmers and cutting the costs of inputs and the bureaucracy on farms. He has also been urging banks to free up credit to support the growth of the farming sector.

Earlier today, James McCarthy from Farranfore, Co Kerry was elected Munster chairman. The successful candidates will take office at the association’s AGM on January 14th.

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