Nominations for the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) elections which have been underway since August 15, officially closed at midday today (Tuesday, September 12).

Candidates running for president and deputy president required a nomination from their own county executive and five other county chair people.

Candidates running for regional chairperson required a nomination from their own county executive.

The next step in the process is for election debates to take place and they will run throughout October, with voting then beginning in November.

The national count will take place in December.

The IFA said that a schedule of meetings and the voting timetable will be finalised shortly.

As announced by the IFA earlier in the year, the voting process for president and deputy president will be a hybrid model.

Each member will receive their ballot papers in the post. They will have the option of bringing their ballot to their branch annual general meeting (AGM) or returning it by post.

IFA election candidates

Both the current IFA national treasurer, Martin Stapleton and the current IFA south Leinster regional chair, Francie Gorman are in the running for president.

Stapleton said the important thing is that farmers work together to secure the future of Irish farmers and Irish farming.

Gorman said his priority is to ensure Ireland does not transfer its food production business to countries that produce food in “a less sustainable fashion”.

IFA Connacht regional chairperson Pat Murphy is in the running for deputy president. He said the main reason he was going for the role was that IFA leaderships needs young full-time farmers and family farmers.

Murphy is competing with the association’s current Farm Family and Social Affairs Committee chairperson, Alice Doyle. She said both the farm and the family are “very important” to the future of rural Ireland and to the economy in Ireland, for its “sustainability and viability”.

Doyle is the first women to contest an IFA presidential or deputy presidential election in the organisation’s history.

Nominations for the Leinster regional chair election include: Thomas Byrne from Co. Wicklow, Pat Farrell from Co. Kildare/West Wicklow, and Paul O’Brien from Co. Kilkenny.

The Munster regional chair will be contested by Mark Connors from Co. Waterford, Francis Foley from Co. Kerry, and Conor O’Leary from Co. Cork central.

Nominations for the Connacht regional chair will be contested by James Gallagher from Co. Leitrim and Brendan Golden from Co. Mayo.

IFA deputy president Brian Rushe said: “All our branch officers, county officers and national officers are elected by farmers.

“The president and deputy president of IFA are elected directly by members. They are truly representative of farmers and they carry a genuine mandate once elected.”