Counting continues in IFA presidential election

Eddie Downey leading race to to succeed John Bryan as chief of farming group

The counting of votes to determine who will be the 14th president of the Irish Farmers Association has begun at the Castleknock Hotel in Dublin.

The organisation's deputy president Eddie Downey, from Slane, Co Meath, has taken an early lead over IFA south Leinster vice-president Jer Bergin, from Ballacolla, Co Laois, but a substantial number of votes are still to be counted.

At lunchtime, Mr Downey had secured 380 votes to Mr Bergin’s 260.

The election process involves a weighted voting system which gives extra votes to those branches with high turnouts.


The successful candidate will take over from outgoing president John Bryan at the association's AGM in January. Mr Bryan is expected to announce his intention to run in the European Parliament elections when he steps down after his four-year term at the helm of the organisation.

Voting in the contest closed on Friday night, with 945 of its the 946 branches voting. Members of IFA’s Granlahan branch in Co Roscommon boycotted the election over the stance taken by the IFA leadership during the negotiations on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.

A second attempt to run the vote failed after the quorum was not reached. The dissenting members said their organisation was not representing the views of smaller producers.

The presidency is not the only role to be filled today. The association’s national treasurer JJ Kavanagh and Cork Central farm business representative Tim O’Leary are running for the position of deputy president.

Mr O’Leary has taken a strong lead in the contest with the latest figures showing him with 403 votes compared with 178 votes for Mr Kavanagh.

Three candidates are contesting the position of Munster regional chairman - Kevin Kiersey from Waterford, James McCarthy from Kerry, and Eddie Scanlan from Limerick.

The election count can be followed on with final results expected to be announced at about 7pm.

Alison Healy

Alison Healy

Alison Healy is a contributor to The Irish Times