IFA whistleblower drops out of presidential election race

Carlow chairman Derek Deane calls for review of rules governing IFA elections

IFA Carlow chairman Derek Deane called for a review of the election rules.

IFA Carlow chairman Derek Deane called for a review of the election rules.

 

The Irish Farmers’ Association(IFA) official who exposed the pay issues which led to the resignation of its president and general secretary has withdrawn from the association’s presidential election.

The IFA’s Carlow chairman, Derek Deane, originally failed to get the required backing of six county executives to enter the contest.

However, he had made a last-ditch appeal to the association to be allowed in the race on the basis of verbal assurances he received from a sixth county chairman.

This appears to have been rejected by the IFA’s national returning officer.

Mr Deane said he had withdrawn from the election but called on the association to review its rules around contesting elections.

“I wish to withdraw from the race for president of IFA at this time. I believe that there are issues that I have raised with the chairman of the rules committee that should be reviewed before the next election,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the agri-sector had played a key role in Ireland’s economic recovery and would be central to the Government’s long-term economic plan.

He was meeting with IFA officials ahead of the upcoming general election.

“Far from being a sunset industry, as too often the agri-sector is regarded by some, from the Government’s point of view it has been a real priority over the last five years,” he said, noting the sector employed 165,000 people, equating to 9 per cent of the workforce.

IFA national chairman Jer Bergin said the viability of family farms has been threatened by a combination of reduced national funding for farm schemes, lower C ommon Agricultural Policy (CAP) supports and greater exposure to volatile world markets.

“IFA will work to ensure that politicians and political parties establish policies that promise a real and positive impact on agriculture and rural Ireland, ” Mr Bergin said.

“We expect firm commitments from all parties that they will undertake actions to support agriculture, put the sustainable and profitable growth of family farming to the fore and prioritise the rejuvenation of rural Ireland as an essential element of economic recovery,” he said.

“Crucially, when a new Government is in place, they must make good on their election promises on agriculture as an utmost priority - IFA will be holding them to account on their commitments in any Programme for Government throughout 2016 and beyond.”