IFA Pigs Chairman under pressure to step aside

The Chairman of the IFA’s Pigs Committee Pat O’Flaherty is coming under pressure to resign, after a number of members of the Pigs Committee called for his resignation over the weekend.

It is believed that nine members of the Pigs Committee wrote to Deirdre O’Shea, IFA Pigs Committee Executive, over the weekend calling for O’Flaherty to step aside.

A spokesman for the IFA was not able to confirm how many people had called for O’Flaherty’s resignation and Pat O’Flaherty had no comment to make, when contacted by Agriland about the calls for him to step aside.

This is the latest drama to hit IFA and it comes in the wake of a review of the IFA’s Pig DNA Programme, which was submitted by Professor Paddy Wall and Tim Cullinan last week.

While the review of the DNA programme has eight recommendations around the scheme, it also says in its conclusions that an effectively-operating IFA Pig Committee is necessary for the development of the sector.

“The DNA scheme is only one item on the agenda but disagreements regarding its operation are impeding progress on other issues,” the report states.

It also says that committee member should be open regarding possible, or perceived, conflicts of interest whether they are with millers, primary processors, secondary processors or retailers.

Ongoing disputes regarding the scheme only serve to undermine its credibility and to erode consumer confidence and all farmers will be losers, the report concludes.

IFA Pigs Committee

In September, three people stepped aside from the IFA Pigs Committee over what they said was ongoing issues over the handling of concerns they had raised about the committee’s leadership.

Professor Paddy Wall and Tim Cullinan were approached and asked to examine a number of issues the three  raised and culminated in last week’s report.

The main concerns of the three men centred around the DNA testing programme, self-certification by producers and environmental issues, and misgivings of the Chairman’s handling of the concerns that were raised by members of the committee.

Howard McCollum from the North region and Vice Chairman of the Pigs Committee and Tom Sherman from the South Region, who is also the Chairman of the IFA’s DNA section, stepped aside from the committee while Colin Marry, from the mid region, resigned from the committee outright.

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