The chair of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) in Kerry, Kenny Jones has told Agriland that he is “glad” a formal complaint he lodged with IFA headquarters has been dealt with.
The complaint, made in July, related mainly to messages posted in the Kerry IFA messaging groups, and to messages sent directly to Jones.
Several members of the Kerry county executive were contacted by IFA headquarters in relation to the matter.
This included then Kerry IFA vice-chair John Joe Fitzgerald and Kerry IFA Dairy chair Michael O’Dowd.
In August, Fitzgerald resigned from his position and left the farming organisation entirely.
The west Kerry farmer said that he took the decision on medical advice and maintains that he has “nothing to be ashamed of”.
Yesterday (Monday, October 24), IFA National Council voted to approve a recommendation from the association’s National Rules, Privileges and Procedures Committee to ban O’Dowd from holding an officer role in the association for four years.
As part of its enquiry the IFA employed consultant Gerard Dollard to carry out an independent investigation; that report was given to council members in advance of yesterday’s meeting.
There will be an option for the Castlemaine farmer to appeal this sanction after two years.
O’Dowd has said that he does not accept the decision, adding that he never met Gerard Dollard.
He claimed to have the support of nine Kerry IFA county officers.
Speaking to Agriland this afternoon, Kenny Jones made a brief statement on the outcome of the meeting:
“I’m glad that it is has been dealt with. I didn’t take the decision lightly to make the formal compliant.
“I now hope to get back to representing farmers,” the Kerry IFA chair added.
IFA national returning officer Martin Stapleton, who also chairs the national rules committee, said that the investigation had been “thorough, robust and fair”.
“The county chairman showed great courage in coming forward with his complaint. No one should have to endure the messages that were sent to him.
“Anybody who puts themselves forward for a role in IFA deserves to be treated with respect. We have rules and a code of conduct that have to be upheld,” Stapleton said.