IFA environment chair declares bid for 2019 deputy presidency

Thomas Cooney, the chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Environment and Rural Affairs Committee, has officially declared his intention to run for deputy president of the farm lobby group.

This evening (March 11), the Laragh branch native announced his ambition to contest the position in a letter to Elizabeth Ormiston, the chairperson of Cavan IFA.

The correspondence was subsequently read out to IFA members at a county executive meeting at the Hotel Kilmore in Cavan tonight.

It is understood that Cooney is the only candidate from Co. Cavan that is expected to contest the vice presidency of the farm lobby group.

Meanwhile, it is understood that Joe Brady, the IFA’s current Rural Development Committee chairman and Co. Cavan representative, is “seriously considering” a run for the national presidency of the association.

However, Brady has yet to make an official declaration that he will attempt to succeed the current IFA president, Joe Healy, during the association’s 2019 elections which are set to take place in late November.

Letter

In the letter to the Cavan IFA chairperson, seen by AgriLand, Cooney outlined how he has received “several calls” from IFA members “encouraging” him to put his name forward for deputy president of the association.

“I got involved in IFA to continue the good work of the Cavan county executive, to help fellow farmers in trouble with financial institutions, or delayed payments with the department and doing whatever we can to improve the lot of fellow farmers.

With the support of Cavan IFA in 2011, I was selected to represent the county on the national environment committee – going on in 2016 to become national chairman of that committee.

“During that time, I have worked tirelessly to end the duplication of tractor testing proposed by the RSA, to deliver waste tyre centres in Cootehill and across the country, to deliver the renewal of the nitrates derogation, to have hazardous waste collection put in place and to deliver the smart farming programme which has shown we can reduce our bills by at least €5,000,” the letter states.

The letter continues: “This role has brought me face-to-face with a range of Government ministers, the Taoiseach, senior civil servants and three EU commissioners to do my best to make improvements for farm families of Cavan and across the country.

Cavan IFA supported my nomination in 2011 to the national environment committee. I appreciate that support, now I am seeking a renewal of that support as in my bid to become IFA deputy president for the farmers of Cavan and farmers across Ireland.

“I thank you, the county executive, for your support and want to acknowledge the support I received from my wife Olivia and my two daughters,” the letter concluded.

Cooney was not in attendance at tonight’s meeting.

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