The two candidates in the ICSA presidential election race, Dermot Kelleher and Sean McNamara, have agreed to a power-sharing agreement for the organisation’s leadership for the next two years.
The arrangement comes following a tie at last night’s ICSA presidential election.
The two candidates agreed to “work together in the best interest of farmers and the ICSA”.
The agreement will see Dermot Kelleher remain as president for the next year, while Sean McNamara will take up the office in 2024.
McNamara will also assume a position on ICSA’s management committee in the new year.
Kelleher was first elected president of ICSA in December 2020 and has served as its national suckler chair and Munster vice-president in the past.
He hails from Inchigeela in West Cork, where he runs a suckler farm with his wife, Mary.
They have five adult children, two of whom are farming. Dermot’s eldest son, Christopher, is now involved in the home farm where alongside sucklers, they keep a herd of pedigree Charolais cattle, and his other son, Tim, breeds pedigree Zwartbles sheep.
Ahead of the election, he committed to prioritising the following issues if granted another term of office:
- Put food security back at “the top of the agenda” both in Ireland and Brussels;
- A forum for farmers doing the work on the ground to talk directly to those designing schemes about the practicalities of doing the tasks without “being shouted down and outnumbered by NGOs”
- Protect the drystock sector and ensure it is “not sacrificed for the big dairy lobby”.
- Work together to “fight the anti-livestock farming agenda”. “It is making the climate change debate all about livestock farming and diverting attention from the responsibilities of the fossil fuel and energy sectors.”
Sean McNamara is a sheep, suckler, and beef farmer, in Lismacaffrey, Co Westmeath and the current ICSA national sheep chair.
He is married to Eleanor, and they have four children ranging in age from 19 to 25-years-old, three of whom are active in the farming business.
He also has a cattle and sheep haulage business and is, along with his son, involved in buying stock for other farmer clients.
They also have an involvement in the live export of sheep and cattle.
Ahead of last night’s election, he laid out the following priorities:
- A “fair price” for livestock producers and “fair play” for all farmers when it comes to on-farm inspections – A “fair share” of the final retail price;
- “More fairness” for farmers in relation to on-farm inspections – Notice of farm visits and “farmer-friendly” schemes “not tied up in red tape”;
- Increase participation by younger farmers and female farmers in ICSA;
- Climate change: adequate government funding to “assist farmers in improving”;
- Agri-Food Regulation: “Answers as to who is making what along the food chain and expose excess profiteering on behalf of processors and retailers”.