Investigation to be launched into ongoing issues in IFA Pigs Committee

The IFA Pigs Committee is believed to be appointing two people to examine ongoing issues in the running of the committee and its remit.

Three senior members of the Pigs Committee resigned and stepped aside in recent days in protest over the handling of concerns they had raised about the committee’s leadership.

The three men handed in written submissions to a Pigs Committee meeting today (Thursday) in Bluebell, but did not attend the meeting themselves.

One source from inside the meeting said the remaining committee took their recommendations on board, including one that a number of independent people would be appointed to examine the workings of the Pigs Committee.

It is understood that Professor Paddy Wall and Tim Cullinane are to be approached to examine a number of issues the three have raised.

The main concerns of the three men centre 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 in recent weeks.

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 in recent days from the committee while Colin Marry, from the mid region, resigned from the committee outright last week.

Today’s move will be seen as a vote of confidence in the actions of the three to leave the committee.

The three men handed in written submissions to Bluebell before the meeting started this morning, but they did not attend the meeting in person, according to a source in the meeting.

One of the concerns the three have raised in recent weeks is the leadership of Pigs Committee Chairman Pat O’Flaherty. They say the Kildare man’s relationship with an Irish supermarket under his recently launched branded pig meat product makes his position as IFA Pigs Chairman untenable.

Tim Cullinane is a previous Chairman of the IFA Pigs Committee and was instrumental in the setting up of the IFA’s DNA pig testing programme and has worked “tirelessly” for pig farmers, according to one person in the meeting.

The move to appoint the Tipperary pig farmer is significant as he is believed to have the full backing of the Pigs Committee and is held in very high regard by pig producers across the country.

One source described him as a “straight thinking and honourable man” who has invested heavily in his own business in the past number of years.

While Bluebell came out in support of O’Flaherty last week, saying he is doing an “excellent” job, the outcome of today’s Pigs Committee meeting shows serious support for Marry, Sherman and McCollum and their convictions.

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