Voting in IFA elections draws to a close tonight

Voting in the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) election has been underway since Monday, November 25, and will draw to a close tonight, Friday, December 13.

Farmers who are members have been voting to elect the next president and deputy president of the organisation at their local IFA branch AGMs.

Across the country, voter turnouts have been varied with reports of low turnouts in many areas, to record-high turnouts at other branches – in particular – branches in the surrounding areas of the candidates who are running.

Three candidates are running for the position of president: John Coughlan; Tim Cullinan; and Angus Woods.

Meanwhile, two candidates are running for the deputy position: Thomas Cooney; and Brian Rushe.

Unlike previous IFA elections, this one would appear too close to call. However, sources across the country have expressed concern at voter turnout in Co. Cork and have told AgriLand this could well leave early election front runner John Coughlan – who has been described by some voters as ‘a safe pair of hands’ – under pressure.

Meanwhile, Angus Woods and Tim Cullinan appear to be neck-and-neck as the race draws to a close.

IFA sources across the country have said that Cullinan’s “radical approach” struck a chord with many IFA voters nationwide while Angus Woods’ “realist approach” appears to have been welcomed by other voters.

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

Two contestants ran in the IFA deputy election – Co. Cavan’s Thomas Cooney and Co. Kildare’s Brian Rushe.

Both candidates appeared to come across very well to the IFA members with Rushe being described as “a very polished speaker” and Cooney being referred to as “the most experienced candidate”.

Reports are suggesting that Cooney is securing strong support in the west and further down south of the country. However, sources have told AgriLand that Rushe is performing well in many areas also.

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

The count will take place in the Castleknock Hotel, Co. Dublin, next Tuesday, December 17.

The count will be attended by the candidates and their teams. It will no doubt be a nail-biting experience for all who have been following the election.

Stay tuned to AgriLand for further updates on this story.