Current president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) Dermot Kelleher faces a challenge for a second term at the helm, with the organisation’s sheep chair Seán McNamara also throwing his hat in the ring.

The election will be held in the Midlands Park Hotel in Portlaoise on 14 December where both candidates will have the opportunity to speak to and be challenged by the ICSA national executive, who will choose the next president.

The ICSA president serves a term of two years and both candidates have cited concerns around the Food Vision beef and sheep group’s recommendations and their implications for the suckler sector.

Improving drystock sector incomes, processor price transparency and seeing farmers paid more for implementing sustainability environmental measures would be McNamara’s priorities as president, the Co Westmeath sheep and beef farmer told the Irish Farmers Journal.

Seán McNamara

“My main priority is to make every farm family viable, to have a viable sector for the youth coming through. A drystock farmer should be able to make a full-time living from the farm without needing a second job.

“The processing industry should be scrutinised to see who is getting what for every kilo of beef and lamb that goes through.”


Suckler farmer Kelleher, who had previously held elected ICSA positions at Munster and national suckler committee levels, said that he would seek to gain better farmer representation in policy discussions if re-elected president.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Kelleher said that bringing food production back into the centre of CAP was another priority of his.

“For me, it’s about taking farming back to food production and food security. Climate change and the environment is important, but it’s food that is at the middle of it,” the west Cork farmer insisted.

“Giving farmers their voice back is another big one. Farmers cannot be shouted down. We need a proper forum for farmers to give their views. We need our respect back.”