Cavan IFA: Cooney leaves ball in Brady’s court for elections

A recently declared candidate for the upcoming Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) elections has stated that he will step out of the race should one of his fellow Cavan IFA counterparts put his hat in the ring.

Thomas Cooney, the current chairman of the IFA’s Environment Committee, made the announcement at a county IFA monthly meeting earlier this week.

Just three months after officially declaring his intention to run for deputy president, Cooney informed his colleagues on the night that if his fellow county man – IFA’s rural development chairman Joe Brady – declares to run for president of the farm lobby group he would then stand aside and offer his “full support” to Brady.

He said: “I announced my intentions at this executive to run for deputy president.

On the same night, Joe Brady declared that he was also ‘seriously considering’ running for president and I understand that he is still interested in running.

“There’s no rule in the IFA to say that we can’t put a candidate forward from the county for each position; but, I believe that it wouldn’t be fair on either of the candidates, or the members of Cavan executive, who would have to go around the country and help get either of us elected.

L-R: Cavan IFA chairperson, Elizabeth Ormiston; EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan; and IFA environmental chairperson, Thomas Cooney

“I think we would dilute each other. I believe that only one candidate should be running.

In the event of Joe Brady officially declaring to run for president, I will withdraw from the deputy race and offer my full support to him.

Brady did not attend the meeting on the night.

The Cavan IFA chairperson, Elizabeth Ormiston, thanked Cooney for his input and said: “I am not going to let any comments be made on that here tonight.”

She outlined that this was because the secretary, Brian Barry, had informed her “not to discuss the elections at the executive until confirmation had been received from the returning officer that it could be discussed”.

Concluding, Ormiston said she “believes that it is in the interest of fairness”.