D-day for IFA tomorrow in presidential election – who will win?
After weeks of debating and voting the IFA ballot papers will be counted tomorrow in Dublin to elect its 15th President.
The IFA’s 75,000 members were given the opportunity to vote in the organisations’ new one-man one-vote system to elect a president in light of the resignation of the former President Eddie Downey.
The Meath farmer resigned in November 2015, in light of pay revelations around the former General Secretary Pat Smith and his exit package, which was signed by Downey, which totalled €2m.
Three candidates were declared in a contentious battle for nominations, with the former Deputy President Tim O’Leary and the whistleblower on the pay revelations Derek Deane both failing to secure enough nominations to stand for election.
IFA Livestock Chairman Henry Burns, from Laois, former Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy, from Kerry and Farm Business Committee Chairman Joe Healy, from Galway, secured enough backing and have attended debates in every county since March 29.
However, the race has been too close to call. The Agriland poll puts Henry Burns and Joe Healy neck in neck, but Flor McCarthy has been working with a strong Munster homebase and could poll very well in the first round despite poll suggestions.
Our poll of nearly 3,000 respondents put Joe Healy with the backing of 43% of voters, Henry Burns with 38% and Flor McCarthy at 19%.
However, it will all depend on what candidate polls worst in the first count and is eliminated, as transfers will bring the eventual winner over the line.
Counting starts tomorrow morning, but a winner is not expected to be The winner won’t be announced until late into the evening.
Meanwhile, voting for the Deputy President candidate will be counted and announced earlier in the evening. The three candidates – Nigel Renaghan, Monaghan, Richard Kennedy, Limerick and Pat Farrell, Kildare are contesting this battle.
Also being counted are votes for the Munster Regional Chairman with two candidates – John O’Brien and John Coughlan.