Members of the Lakeland Dairies Co-operative Society have voted to cut the number of board members from 22 to 13.

At a special general meeting (SGM) on Wednesday, members voted for the current 19 electoral areas to be replaced with 13 new electoral areas, based on milk supplier members. Each area will have one board member.

There are eight electoral areas in the Republic of Ireland and five in Northern Ireland.

“Following from the merger in 2019, the current board has 22 elected members and this will now be reduced to 13 (one per electoral area) by November this year, with the option to also co-opt up to three directors,” a Lakeland Dairies spokesperson said.

“To avoid wholesale changes to the important role of the board, eg by running all 13 elections at once, the elections will instead be held on a phased basis.

“Eight of the new electoral areas currently with more than one board member will hold elections in September and October this year and the remaining five new electoral areas will hold elections in September and October 2022.”

At the time of the merger of Lakeland Dairies and LacPatrick Dairies in 2019, it was agreed to review the rules of the new merged society once the merger was completed. The merger received the resounding approval of the members of both co-operatives at that time.