GALWAY’S Joe Healy has been elected as the 15th president of the IFA with a strong lead over opponents Flor McCarthy from Kenmare and Henry Burns from Laois.
The Athenry dairy farmer ran a strong campaign with effective support from the networks he had built up since his days as Macra president. Healy attracted widespread support across the country, leading in most areas except McCarthy’s Kerry and West Cork strongholds and Burns’ wider home area in the Midlands.
Healy stood as the outsider following the governance crisis that rocked the IFA at the end of last year, being the only candidate not currently sitting on any of the IFA’s national structures. An Irish Farmers Journal/Red C poll of 1,000 farmers in mid-February revealed that Healy was the frontrunner in the election campaign with 53% support amongst farmers.
Acting Minister for Agriculture, Mr Simon Coveney, TD, congratulated Joe Healy on his election as president, saying: ‘The IFA is an organisation which provides strong representation for farmers across a range of sectors. I have always enjoyed a good working relationship with the IFA and I look forward to continuing this with Joe.
‘The agriculture industry is a key economic driver for Ireland and we all recognise its essential role in Ireland’s economy. Last year alone, the value of Irish food and drink exports increased to exceed €10.8 billion for the first time.
Mr Coveney concluded: ‘I would like to wish Joe the very best as he takes office and we continue to work together to ensure that our industry is a world-class food producer and exporter.’