Sparks fly in ICSA elec­tion cam­paign

Pres­i­dency can­di­dates ‘neck and neck’

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - LOUISE HO­GAN

THE ICSA elec­tion cam­paign is heat­ing up, with cur­rent pres­i­dent Pa­trick Kent and his Limerick-based chal­lenger Sea­mus Sher­lock be­lieved to be “neck and neck” in the race.

The elec­tion process means that who­ever wins over a ma­jor­ity of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s 114 na­tional ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers when they vote on De­cem­ber 14 will take the spoils.

A na­tion­wide se­ries of ICSA county ex­ec­u­tive meet­ings is com­ing to a close, with one source claim­ing the “old guard” were swept out as vot­ing got un­der­way for county ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions.

A com­plaint has been lodged with the ICSA re­gard­ing pro­ce­dures fol­low­ing vot­ing at the re­cent Tip­per­ary county ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing.

ICSA gen­eral sec­re­tary Ed­die Punch con­firmed that the man­age­ment com­mit­tee would meet on the is­sues raised. He said that any­one who votes in the ICSA elec­tion is a paid-up mem­ber.

“Whether they joined the ICSA a week ago, a year ago or a decade ago doesn’t make any dif­fer­ence. Once you have paid you are en­ti­tled to the ben­e­fits and priv­i­leges of mem­ber­ship,” he said.

Pa­trick Kent has been pres­i­dent for the past four years and can con­tinue for a fur­ther two years should he win the elec­tion. How­ever, he is fac­ing a se­ri­ous chal­lenge from the ICSA’s ru­ral de­vel­op­ment chair­man, Sea­mus Sher­lock.

With claims of new re­cruits join­ing on the night of AGMs and vot­ing, Mr Sher­lock said he and his fam­ily mem­bers have been work­ing to re­cruit new peo­ple in each county.

How­ever, he stressed that he had been “push­ing mem­ber­ship” ever since he joined the or­gan­i­sa­tion, as should all of those on the ex­ec­u­tive.

De­bate

“Com­mod­ity prices are the big is­sue — a lot of peo­ple just aren’t mak­ing money. Beef farm­ers are los­ing money. The big one at the minute is how are we go­ing to get the prices to rise,” said Mr Sher­lock. “There is no quick an­swer.”

Mr Kent said the de­bate and dis­cus­sion among mem­bers that the elec­tion had en­gen­dered was “cer­tainly good for the or­gan­i­sa­tion”.

He said a “huge job of work re­mained to be done” and that he is the man to re­main at the ICSA’s helm to do it. Mr Kent claimed that the cur­rent prices be­ing re­turned for both beef and lamb were too low.

How­ever, the sup­port of del­e­gates has still to be won and one ICSA in­sider com­mented that the elec­tion will be de­cided by the 20pc of na­tional ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers who have not plumped as yet for either camp.

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