IFA chief not going to forum on animal rights movement


IRISH FARMERS Association (IFA) president Pádraig Walshe has said he will not participate in a seminar on the animal rights movement today and has denied that he agreed to attend the event.

The seminar, Consumer Intimidation, the Vegan/Animal Rights Agenda, was organised by Gavin Duffy of the Hunting Association of Ireland, in response to what he says are increasingly intimidatory protests by animal rights activists.

The brochure issued to delegates lists Mr Walshe as one of three speakers due to address the event in Dublin this morning. Mr Duffy said yesterday that Mr Walshe had agreed to participate.

In a statement from the IFA yesterday, Mr Walshe said his name had been used in relation to the event without permission. "I am very dissatisfied about this. The organisers have used my name in a totally inappropriate way to promote their own agenda. I will not allow my name or the IFA to be hijacked in this way. There will be no IFA participation in this event."

Mr Duffy said he was surprised by Mr Walshe's comments. "As a long-term friend and admirer of Pádraig Walshe and as one who worked with him on his election campaign for IFA president, I'm bemused by the IFA statement."

Mr Walshe's attendance had not, until yesterday, been disputed by the IFA, Mr Duffy said.

"Apparently Pádraig Walshe now feels he cannot attend the event and says his name was used inappropriately. If this is his view of events, I apologise unreservedly. It was never my attention to cause any embarrassment to Pádraig or the IFA in inviting him to represent Irish live exporters."

Groups including the National Animal Rights Association and the Association of Hunt Saboteurs intend to protest outside the event.

Irish Farmers Journal editor Matt Dempsey and Lt Col Dennis J Foster, who Mr Duffy says is the world's top authority on the animal rights movement, are to speak at the event.