It seems that IFA president Francie Gorman has decided to make a decisive move in relation to the long-standing dysfunctionality in Kerry IFA. County officers have been given two choices – either they sign a pledge agreeing to abide by the rules of the association, or face being stripped of their officerships.

On the face of it, a pledge to abide by the association’s rulebook doesn’t look like the highest of hurdles, but nothing is as it seems in Kerry, not over the last couple of years anyway.

It simply couldn’t continue as it has been. Rank-and-file members say there haven’t been monthly executive meetings since well back into last year.

Plans for IFA elections husting in the county were abandoned. The county is divided into at least two factions.

One former officer, Michael O’Dowd, was removed from his position as Kerry dairy chair, and precluded from seeking office for four years following a complaint made against him by the then and current chair Kenny Jones.

Two other people were parties to that complaint. One has departed the organisation completely and the procedure against the other, Francis Foley, was suspended, it’s widely understood, on medical grounds.

Unbelievably, Foley sought a nomination to stand for the Munster regional chair position last autumn, and was successful in this regard. Jones failed to prevent an “ambush” at a barely attended Kerry executive, which coinciced with the IFA’s protest in Tipperary on the nitrates derogation.

In the event, Foley never attended a hustings for that election, and eventually withdrew. Meanwhile, it emerged in these pages that a separate complaint had been made by a female officer against a fellow officer.

There was unhappiness expressed by the complainant at the response to that.

A group of officers put their name to a draft letter calling on a mart in Kerry to suspend the collection of IFA levies, and circulated this draft to some agri-media. This letter was never sent to the mart concerned in the end, but the publicity generated left another shadow on Kerry IFA.

This all has to be put in the context of the size and importance of Kerry IFA.

It is one of only two counties that has a second delegate to the IFA’s national council, in recognition of Kerry’s scale of membership. And now Francie Gorman has decided to draw a line in the sand. Everyone is welcome to move forward together (notwithstanding the need to conclude those existing complaints processes), with the one simple proviso that they must sign this undertaking.

I understand this same written undertaking will be required from now on from every person seeking an officer position right across the country. It’s a bold move.

What happens next is anyone’s guess.