Three members of the IFA Pigs Committee have resigned in protest over what are believed to be ongoing issues concerning the committee’s leadership.

The three: Howard McCollum from the North region and Vice Chairman of the Pigs Committee; Colin Marry from the mid region and Tom Sherman from the South Region who is also the Chairman of the IFA’s DNA section.

It is believed the three have resigned over what’s been described as ‘ongoing issues’ among the IFA pig committee in relation to the Chairman Pat O’Flaherty. The concerns centre around O’Flaherty’s relationship with an Irish supermarket under his recently launched branded pig meat product.

Members of the IFA Pigs Committee have said the move makes his position as Chairman as untenable. However, a recent meeting of the IFA pig committee and others in Portlaoise did not see calls for O’Flaherty to resign.

A spokesperson for the IFA said Pat O’Flaherty, with the IFA Pigs Committee, is doing an excellent job and working hard in representing pig farmers on all issues.

“As a voluntary officer of the Association, Pat O’Flaherty is entitled to try and develop a new business opportunity.

“Pat O’Flaherty, with his Committee, will stay focused on addressing the real issues that are of genuine concern to the well-being of pig farmers.”

The IFA partnered with IdentiGen in Ireland to build the DNA TraceBack system for boars. All Irish breeding boars are DNA tagged, which is then used to generate a DNA-ID, a unique code which identifies the animal, its offspring and subsequently all produce from these animals.

The programme is part of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme and is used to test pig meat to determine if it’s Irish or not.

Unrest in amongst pig producers has been heightened as a result of poor returns in the sector. On of the key factors in the market over the past year has been the Russian ban which has served to reduce pig prices by €25 per head over the past 12 months.