The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) has elected a new president to succeed Jerry Long following his retirement.

Following a meeting of the board society, James O’Donnell has been elected president of the co-op representative group.

O’Donnell has served as the vice-president of ICOS for the last four years and has chaired the ICOS Finance and Governance Committee as well as the ICOS Rural Business Committee.

He is a dairy farmer from Golden, between Cashel and Tipperary town in Co. Tipperary, and a member of Dairygold Co-operative.

O’Donnell also serves as the chairperson of Tipperary Farm Relief Services Co-operative, and represents the National Co-op Farm Relief Service on the ICOS board.

As he moves up to the role of president, the role of vice-president will be filled by Edward Carr, chairperson of Arrabawn Co-operative.

Carr is also a dairy farmer based in the ‘Premier County’, though slightly further north in Milestone, to the west of Thurles.

Carr is a member of the ICOS Dairy Committee.

‘Honoured to lead ICOS’

Commenting on his election as president, O’Donnell said: “I’m honoured to lead ICOS at such an important time for our entire sector. I thank my board colleagues for the trust they have placed in me and I will represent and promote the best interests of our co-operative movement across Ireland.”

“I congratulate and look forward to working closely with incoming vice-president Edward Carr and with all board and committee members of ICOS, and with our constituent co-operatives,” he added.

“The Irish agri-food sector makes an immense contribution to our national economic competitiveness and success.”

“Irish agriculture has the capability to produce the highest quality foods with one of the lowest carbon profiles of any other agricultural systems worldwide. This can and must be sustained through viable mechanisms for the future,” O’Donnell argued.

“I am confident that this will be realised through the continuing deployment of existing and ongoing measures to protect the environment, and proactive emissions reduction on a realistic basis using available resources and technologies,” he remarked.

His predecessor in the role, Jerry Long, had served as president of ICOS for three years as a Dairy Committee member for 11 years.