Storm Victims

The Irish Red Cross has launched a public appeal for funds to help victims of the storms that have swept across Ireland in recent weeks.

Thousands of lives have been thrown into chaos by storms and floods that have swept across Ireland, some for the second time in a month.

“Since Storm Desmond struck near the start of the month, Irish Red Cross volunteers have been on the ground helping out people in their communities.

“We’ve carried out evacuations, provided flood barriers, water pumps, fuel, food, drinking water, small cash payments and other forms of humanitarian relief such as making deliveries and helping clean up storm damage.

“Our ambulances and 4x4s have been called into auxiliary service supporting the HSE, local authorities and Gardaí, and remain on stand-by in many parts of the country,“ Irish Red Cross Secretary General Liam O’Dwyer said.

As the severe weather continues and more communities are affected, the Irish Red Cross has made a public appeal for financial support to help this work continue.

Donations can be made at or on 1850 50 70 70 or 01 64 24 600.

Storm-relief operations have included:

Evacuation of a nursing home in Co Mayo

Transport of patients in the South and South East to hospital

Provision of water pumps and fuel in Athlone

Delivery of drinking water, food and supplies – particularly in remote areas


Futile blame game

Dear Editor,

What would the founding leaders of NFA/IFA make of the current state of affairs in the organisation to which they devoted their untiring lifetime efforts?

Perhaps it is just as well that Presidents Juan Greene, Rickard Deasy and TJ Maher and General Secretary Sean Healy are not around to witness current events.

They would surely find it particularly distressing to see the Association being torn apart in a futile blame game instead of focusing on a united approach to implementing the necessary changes identified in the Con Lucey Report to ensure better governance for the future.

While one can understand the frustration which is being expressed by County Executives, Branches and members, it is surprising that practically all of the anger is being directed at the current members of the Association’s Executive Board who, as far as one can judge from the outside, inherited a situation which had evolved under previous leadership going back many years before 2009, including a culture of secrecy whereby top level remuneration was known only to an inner group of two or three.

In the brilliant light of hindsight, the other Board members could have been less trusting and more insistent on openness and transparency.

Instead, they evidently concentrated on their organisational roles as Regional Chairman etc on the reasonable assumption that higher level corporate responsibilities were being duly fulfilled.

In the current blame game, little recognition is being given to fact that the two members of the incoming 2014 Executive Board who had a role in remuneration levels, did actually move to deal with the issue but were frustrated in their efforts.

In the opinion of this observer, calls for further immediate resignations are misplaced and ill-advised. Perhaps the easiest course for current Executive Board members, from their personal perspective, would be to forego the long hours and many miles spent on IFA work and give more time to their farms and families. However, this would leave the Association rudderless, pending election of new officers, at a time when IFA needs to maintain its normal services to farmers, including the pursuit of key policy issues in the context of the upcoming General Election.

An alternative approach would be to revert to the pre-2005 election rules whereby National Officers were elected for a two year term, with provision for one further two year term if duly re-nominateed and elected. Such elections, which would normally have taken place in November 2015 under the former rules, could now be scheduled for late Spring or early Summer 2016, including deferral of the election of President until that time.

In the meantime, the action already taken by the National Chairman (Acting President) to reinstate the National Executive Committee (Involving National Committee Chairmen and National Officers), effectively bridges the disconnect which had occurred on the policy development and advocacy side of IFA’s operations.

The National Executive Committee, which had been a casualty of the 2004 Dowling Review, is a more effective forum in many ways than the Executive Board which emerged from the 2004 restructuring process.

May I appeal to those IFA County Executives who are training their sights on their current leadership to consider allowing a period of calm and considered discussion within the Association, leading up to an orderly round of elections in a few months time.

This process should include an opportunity for current office holders to answer for their stewardship at a series of IFA Regional Conventions - and to present their case for their re-election to office if they decide to seek a further two year term.

John Murphy

(Retired NFA/IFA staff member)