Disharmony in farming union

Irelands largest farming union, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) is coming under increasing fire this week as two more branches are set to vote on a boycott of its elections.

Earlier this week Roscommon branch Granlahan cited a lack of representation by IFA leadership during the recent CAP Reform as the reason for it to boycott the IFA elections. Now many branches in the Western region are considering following suit.

Speaking to AgriLand, a secretary of one of the farming unions branches based in Leitrim, said a boycott vote is to be put to the floor at its meeting this evening.

“Considering what happened in Granlahan, we are pushing hard to support them and for a boycott of the elections,” he added.

Another branch in Mayo is to put forward a similar motion on Thursday evening. Its branch secretary said a lot of the members were “disappointed” that the national organisation was not representing farming families or farmers with low entitlements.

Meanwhile secretary of Leitrim-based Drumshanbo IFA, Ray Gilmartin, said if they had know of Granlahan’s boycott sooner they would have put a vote to the floor.

“If we had known sooner, we would have put a vote to boycott to the floor. We are glad to see someone standing up,” he said.

The Drumshanbo IFA branch held protests earlier this year claiming the IFA was not doing enough for small farmers in the West.

Speaking to AgriLand on the issue of disharmony among the branches, Pat Gilhooley, Leitrim IFA county chairman, cited a recently organised IFA rally to Mullingar on the issue of co-funding of Pillar 11 and a significant IFA lobby session in Carrick-on-Shannon.

“We are putting huge pressure on for 50:50 co-funding. There are no boycotts as far as I am aware.”

A spokesman for the IFA said it has not heard of any further boycott reports and he stressed, as it stands, voting in the election process is still running smoothly.

Meanwhile Fianna Fail agriculture and farming spokesman Eamonn O’Cuiv has called for a reopening of the debate on the redistribution of €1.2bn envelope for the single farm payment if adequate Pillar II co-financing is not possible.

Speaking to AgriLand, he said it was disappointing to hear of election boycotts. “Unless it’s a mass boycott, it is not very effective.”