Farmers who are members of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) have been encouraged to have a part in electing the next IFA president, with voting set to kick off in IFA branches across the country next Monday, November 25.

Voting for the 16th IFA national president will conclude on Friday, December 13, according to the organisation.

IFA national returning officer Richard Kennedy has encouraged farmers to attend the association’s 944 branch meetings in the 29 county executives and vote for the positions of president and deputy president, saying:

Our presidential election gives every member the same say in choosing the next president of IFA.

“It’s an important exercise in democracy and it affords farmers across all enterprises, and in every part of the country, an equal voice in deciding who is best placed to represent Irish farmers 2020 onwards,” he said.

John Coughlan from the Buttevant branch in North Cork, Tim Cullinan from the Toomevara branch in North Tipperary and Angus Woods from the Barndarrig branch in Wicklow are running for the position of IFA president.

The candidates for IFA deputy president are Thomas Cooney from the Laragh branch in Cavan and Brian Rushe from the Carbury/Cadamstown branch in Kildare.

The candidates have engaged with members at 17 debates around the country in the last month.

Among the branches voting on the opening night are: Goleen, West Cork; Aranmore Island, Donegal; Peterswell, Galway; Annascaul, Kerry; Ballyragget, Kilkenny; Walsh Island, Offaly; Knockcroghery, Roscommon; and Boolavogue, Wexford.

The national count will take place in the Castleknock Hotel in Dublin on Tuesday, December 17, with the next IFA president due to take up office at the AGM in January 2020.