Dermot Kelleher, the former president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA), has announced that he is to run in the local elections with Independent Ireland in Macroom, Co Cork.

Party leader Michael Collins TD said Kelleher's leadership and advocacy have been invaluable to the farming community.

“He has worked for decades for his community here in Cork and also across the country advocating for farmers and the people of rural Ireland in general. His decision to join our party speaks volumes about our shared commitment to representing the needs of our communities.

“Dermot's experience and dedication will be invaluable assets in our pursuit of real change for farmers, for rural Ireland and for the whole country,” he said.


Fellow party member Michael Fitzmaurice TD said Kelleher is a man of integrity and diligence who has done incredible work for the agricultural community over many decades.

“He has vast experience and knowledge of the agricultural sector and will be an outstanding asset for our party. We are delighted to have a man of his standing join us in helping to achieve our goal of improving the lives of the people of rural Ireland and in the fight for farmers and the agricultural sector as whole,” he said.

Kelleher said he has been inspired by the work of Michael Collins and his dedication to the people of west Cork.

Healthcare services

“His advocacy for vital healthcare services, such as Bantry General Hospital, resonates deeply with me, particularly after the recent passing of my beloved wife Mary, it gave us great comfort to know she passed in Bantry hospital rather than a large general hospital potentially lying on a trolley - it is this and the great work that Michael Collins does that made me decide to run for Independent Ireland,” he said.

Kelleher said that the establishment of a food regulator is a significant step forward, but “we must ensure that it operates independently to deliver transparency in the food chain”, he said.

"I will continue to advocate for the autonomy of the food regulator to protect the interests of farmers and consumers."