The candidates in the IFA Elections for the positions of regional chairs.

The IFA has confirmed candidates for three of the four regional positions – Munster, Leinster South and Ulster/North Leinster.

However the IFA Rules Committee has met and it has decided to reopen the process for nominations for the Connacht Regional Chairman position.

This comes after controversy over the past few weeks as four counties, out of five, put forward nominations.

The fifth county, Leitrim, then backed the Roscommon candidate, meaning only the Roscommon candidate fulfilled the requirement to have a backing signature.

However, a number of people in Leitrim said they had put forward a Leitrim candidate – Des McHugh – but were told the Leitrim signature had been promised to Roscommon.


As nominations have reopened in Connacht, here are the candidates that had been nominated in the region before the Rules Committee met.

Tom Turley is the outgoing Connacht Regional Chairman and farms near Eyrecourt in Co. Galway.

He is a dairy, suckler and sheep farmer and currently heads up the SAC and Flood Project Teams.

He has previously been Chairman of the National Rural Development Committee 2008-2011 and he is also a member of the Peatland Council and the Galway Local Community Development Committee.

The Mayo IFA Executive nominated Padraic Joyce to go forward for the Connacht position.

Joyce is the current Mayo County Chairman and has strong background in IFA.

Roscommon IFA nominated John O’Beirne to go forward for Connacht Chair. O’Beirne is a former Roscommon County Chairman and also a former Vice-County Chairman.

The Strokestown beef farmer finishes around 70-80 cattle a year and also works as a postman. He is also a former Chairman of his local branch for four years.

O’Beirne is married with three children and has also been involved in Strokestown Show for numerous years.

Eddie Davitt was backed by the Sligo Executive for the position.

Davitt is a former Sligo County Chairman and is a sheep farmer from Cloonacool, Tubbercurry.

Leitrim’s County Chairman James Gallagher gave his signature to Roscommon, however at the Leitrim County Executive, a candidate was nominated.

Des McHugh the current Vice Chairman of Leitrim was nominated and is a dairy and sheep farmer from Ballinamore.

He has been involved in the Leitrim Executive for 25 years and sits on the Environmental and Rural Affairs Committee.

Ulster/North Leinster

Ulster/North Leinster was the most straightforward regional race with just one candidate declaring for the regional chair position.

Bert Stewart is a dairy, spring and liquid milk, livestock and sheep farmer from Drum in Co. Monaghan. He is also the current Ulster/North Leinster Chairman.

He has been involved with IFA for over 20 years, and is the current chairman of the Animal Health Project Team.

South Leinster

Two candidates emerged in the South Leinster Regional race; PJ Jones and James Murphy with the latter being the only one to secure the signatures he needed.

James Murphy, is the current South Leinster Chair is a sheep farmer from Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny. He also heads up the Renewables and Alternative Land Use project team.

Murphy is also a former National Sheep Chairman.

PJ Jones emerged as a challenger to Murphy for the regional position, however, he did not get the required number of signatures to allow him to contest the position.


Munster is the only region that it is guaranteed to have an actual election for the position of Munster Chairman and it will be an all-Cork race.

John O’Brien a dairy farmer from Barryroe, Co. Cork and John Coughlan a dairy, livestock and tillage farmer also from Co. Cork.

O’Brien is from Cork Central IFA and Coughlan is from the North Cork Executive.

O’Brien served as Chairman of Barryroe Co-op for seven years and he also sat for two years on the board of Carbery and also on the board of Ornua.

Meanwhile, Coughlan is a former North Cork IFA Chairman and sits on the IFA’s Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.