The winning candidate and incoming president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has been announced.

Following a short interval at the election, held in Portlaoise, Co. Laois, this evening, Thursday, June 27, Edmond Phelan has been elected for a two-year term, up to 2021.

The president was elected following a tough three-way campaign, seeing off strong competition from Hugh Farrell, chairperson of the ICSA Animal Health and Welfare Committee; and Dermot Kelleher, the current regional vice-president for Munster.

All three candidates took part in a panel debate, chaired by AgriLand news editor Claire Mc Cormack, voicing their views on topics ranging from climate action to Brexit, as well as topics including: the future of the suckler sector; the beef grid; and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The debate kicked off at 8:00pm this evening, and lasted about 40 minutes.

The election took place some six months earlier than usual.

Following the announcement on Wednesday, April 24, that Patrick Kent would resign from the role, the ICSA decided on an early election to find his replacement, bringing forward the contest that was originally scheduled for December.

Kent stepped down from his role after accepting an offer from Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace to join his team as an agricultural advisor, in his successful bid to be elected as an MEP in the upcoming European elections.

He also accepted a place on the list of possible replacements for Wallace, should the Wexford TD be unable to fill it.