The national representatives of the Independent Farmers of Ireland, formed in recent weeks to represent protesters outside meat factories around the country, have moved to quell rumours that there has been a change in representation of the group.
In a statement released today, Saturday, September 21, the Independent Farmers noted that approaches have been made in recent days to media claiming that the three elected spokespeople have been replaced.
“This is patently untrue as there was no national call to have them replaced and no national election for their replacement,” the statement said.
The group statement added that, following the announcement of a beef agreement between stakeholders last Sunday, September 15, “some of those who remained protesting felt dissatisfied that base price was not discussed in the negotiations”.
The statement reiterated that such a move was not an option. Continuing, it added:
“If these parties felt the need to replace the spokespeople perhaps they should have stated nationally that they were calling an election. This, however, was not the case.
As it stands, Alison De Vere Hunt, Ger Gough and Maggie Delahunty are still the representatives for the Independent Farmers of Ireland.
“If these four people wish to claim that they are the new elected representatives, substantive evidence of a free and fair election will need to be produced.”
The group statement said that, having been involved with the other six farm organisations in negotiating the agreement – which includes a “wide-ranging root-and-branch review” of the Irish beef industry, attempts to displace the national representatives “seems to be taking place in a strange manner”.
‘Designed to sow division’
“Emails are being sent which claim to be from the Independent Farmers of Ireland and seem designed to sow division between the farming organisations.
Where these emails are actually coming from is not clear and whether they are connected with the proposed new spokespeople is unknown as of yet.
Concluding, the group’s statement said that, while there seems to be a great deal of confusion with regard to all such actions, Alison De Vere Hunt, Ger Gough and Maggie Delahunty remain the elected spokespeople for the Independent Farmers of Ireland.