Judgment reserved in ICA elections case

Long-standing member seeking injunction over conduct of vote for national executive

A judge has reserved judgment on proceedings brought over the conduct of elections for the national executive of the Irish Country Women’s Association.

Patricia Madden, who joined the ICA 39 years ago, has brought the proceedings.

The ICA has urged Ms Justice Una Ní Raifeartaigh to dismiss her action and says it has put a set of proposals that would, it says, allow its members decided on the issues raised by Ms Madden.

Ms Madden, a barrister, of St Mobhi Road, Glasnevin, Dublin, claims the organisation breached its constitution when it failed to count ballots cast by its membership in advance of its annual general meeting last May.


She claims the ICA should have declared the winners of the election at the agm for positions on its national executive board including national president, for a term of office from 2018 to 2021.

Ms Madden claims that procedures adopted and the decisions taken by the ICA at its agm, and at earlier egm and a meeting of its national executive were “ultra vires” to its constitution and based on “tainted and flawed” legal advice.

Proposals by the ICA to keep some existing national executive members in place on a caretaker basis until new elections could be conducted were “specifically excluded,” she said.

Ms Madden is seeking various injunctions, including restraining the ICA from filling any vacancies on its board, until the dispute has been decided.

The ICA represented by Frank Beatty SC, with Brendan Kirwan, has accepted there were problems with the ballot papers for the 2018 elections and said the ICA wanted to rectify the matter. It has made proposals that would allow the ICA move forward but, for some reason, Ms Madden had rejected those, it was argued.

On Thursday, following the conclusion of submissions from both parties, Ms Justice Ní­ Raifeartaigh reserved judgment.