Former ICSA president nominated for Seanad seat

The former president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has been nominated for a seat in the Seanad on the Agricultural Panel.

AgriLand understands that Patrick Kent, who stepped down as ICSA president in April of 2019, has been nominated by four independent TDs for the seat.

The Agricultural Panel is one of the five ‘Vocational Panels’ which together elect 43 members of the Seanad. Polling for the Vocational Panels ends on March 30, with counting to begin shortly afterwards.

The 2020 Seanad Election, and the subsequent count, will go ahead despite Covid-19, but with strict protocols.

Kent stepped down as ICSA president to accept an offer from then TD Mick Wallace to join his team as an agricultural adviser, in Wallace’s ultimately successful bid to be elected an MEP for Ireland South at the May 2019 European Parliament elections.

Kent, from Co. Wexford, had held the reins of the ICSA since his election to the role in December 2013.

Following his resignation, he was replaced by Waterford-based Edmond Phelan, who was elected to the position in June 2019.

Seanad elections

The Agricultural Panel is one of five Vocational Panels that together elect 43 of the 60 members of the Seanad. The Agricultural Panel – which also deals with fisheries – elects 11 Seanad members.

The method for electing Seanad members is a complicated one.

Of the 60 members, 11 are nominated by the Taoiseach, while six are elected by graduates of Trinity College and the National University of Ireland.

Of the remaining 43 seats, they are elected by TDs, outgoing senators and members of county/city councils from among the five Vocational Panels.

Apart from the Agricultural Panel, the other four electing panels are:

  • The Administrative Panel (public administration and social services), which elects seven members;
  • The Cultural and Educational Panel (education, the arts and the Irish language, culture and heritage), which elects five members;
  • The Industrial and Commercial Panel (industry and commerce), which elects nine members;
  • The Labour Panel (organised labour or otherwise), which elects 11 members.