Strokestown, Boyle IFA boycott elections

The controversy over the long delay in the election of a new Connacht chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has intensified this week.

  The Strokestown branch have boycotted the IFA president and deputy president elections, which are taking place throughout the county until April 15, as a protest against the Connacht position being vacant for four months. 

  The branch’s executive held a meeting on Monday night. It was decided “not to hold a meeting to facilitate the election of president and deputy president until such time as the Connacht regional chair situation is resolved”.

  The elections to fill the principal IFA positions were due to be held at the Percy French Hotel in Strokestown on Tuesday night.

  On Tuesday, the Boyle branch followed Strokestown’s lead by calling off their elections as a similar sign of protest.

  “Seven or eight other branches around the county are likely to follow suit,” a source said on Wednesday morning.

  However, the IFA have defended their handling of the situation.

  “After running the nomination process twice, there were no valid nominations for the position of IFA Connacht chairman,” a spokesman said.

  “Candidates require a nomination by their own county executive and the signed support of one chairman of another county executive in the region.

  “The situation in Connacht was considered at a meeting of IFA executive council last week. The strong view of council was that the situation needs to be resolved within the region.

  “Council agreed that all efforts would be made to facilitate a resolution whereby the parties in Connacht would be given more time to move forward under existing rules, so that an election for Connacht chairman would take place as early as possible.”

  The IFA also said that a proposed rule change will be decided at the next council meeting to allow part-time farmers to be eligible as candidates for the position of regional chairman.