Margins tighten as IFA election count goes to the wire

A total of 49% of the ballot boxes have now been opened and the first count has reached the half-way mark for the 2019 Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) elections.

The count is taking place at the Castleknock Hotel, Dublin, today, Tuesday, December 17.

So far, 467 of the 944 ballot boxes have been opened and there is a mere 149 votes between the three presidential candidates – Tim Cullinan, John Coughlan and Angus Woods.

In an interesting turn of events, Co. Cork’s John Coughlan has pinched a slight lead and currently has 3,677 first preference votes secured.

Next up, and a marginal 92 votes behind Coughlan, is Co. Tipperary’s Tim Cullinan who has bagged 3,585 first preference votes.

In close chase is Co. Wicklow’s Angus Woods, hot on Cullinan’s heels, at a mere 57 votes behind the Co. Tipperary man.

Here’s how it’s looking on a county-by-county basis at the moment:

The big challenge in the election (carried out in a proportional representation style) is that all three candidates want to avoid being bottom of the pile on the first count.

The candidate who receives the lowest number of first-preference votes following the first count will be eliminated and their ‘Number 2’ votes will then be transferred to the remaining two candidates.

The deputy race

Remarkably, it appears as though the deputy race will also go to the wall as contenders Thomas Cooney, Co. Cavan, and Brian Rushe, Co. Kildare, battle it out for the position of deputy president of the IFA.

Here’s how the deputy race is looking on a county-by-county basis at the moment:

As there are only two candidates running in this race, the successful candidate will be elected on a first-past-the-post majority system.

Stay tuned to AgriLand for further updates on the election as the count unfolds…