Members of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA) protested outside the association’s HQ in Dublin on Friday, demanding answers to recent controversy which has engulfed the organisation.

Up to 30 women held placards outside the ICA central office on the Merrion Road in the capital, with the removal of three women from the association’s national executive board, known as the NEB, one of the main reasons behind the protest.

Members held signs which said 'Irish Confidentiality Association', 'Reinstate the NEB 3' and 'ICA – I Can’t Answer'.

L-R: ICA members Carol Grogran, Patricia Madden and Joanne Dunphy Allen at the protest at ICA HQ on 6 January. The three women were removed from the ICA national executive board in October.

The three women who were removed from the board in October 2022 were Joanne Dunphy Allen, Patricia Madden and Carol Grogan.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal at the protest on Friday, Dunphy Allen, who is the national secretary of the ICA and is company secretary of the Countrywomen’s Trust CLG, said that women in the organisation have huge concerns.

“I’m here because some women decided that they would like to gather here outside central office on Nollaig na mBan and they have huge concerns in the organisation at present.

“I along with two other members of the national executive board have been removed from the board, on 9 October, for no reason. It was under a technicality under our constitution rules where two-thirds [of the board] could vote to remove us.

“We're here because people want answers, people feel everything is very unjust. I’m here because I know I’ve been wronged, I’m here because I want to be out supporting women of this country and growing our membership.”

Helen Cunningham from Kilkenny at the protest at ICA HQ on 6 January. \ Amy Forde

She said that the members protested because “enough was enough” and that members wanted answers.

She feels she was removed from the board because she asked questions and wasn’t receiving answers.

“I was asking questions around finances, corporate governance, around how we do things, policies, procedures. I wanted things to be done right,” she said.


Carol Grogan said she does not know why she was removed from the ICA’s executive board.

“I don’t know. I’ve been asking, I’m Louth federation president as well, we’ve been asking as members, as federation president and myself personally, but no answers,” she told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“We want answers. We want to know why we were removed. At the end of the day we are a membership organisation, 6,000 members in the country.

"I feel that this is really damaging, the fact that our national executive board will not communicate with the members is so damaging to the organisation.”

Patricia Madden said that she loves the ICA and believes in the organisation. A member for 42 years, she said what is happening at the moment is not ok.

“Nollaig na mBan has always been important to me. [The ICA] has been there a very long time. For 60 years before I joined it, there were people and it has made a huge difference in my life,” she said.

Horrific experience

She said her experience of being removed from the NEB has been “horrific” and no reason has been given.

“I could speculate all I like as to why I’ve been removed, but what’s that going to do? Torture me even more?

"It’s up to the people, it’s been out in the media. Fourteen members of the national executive board voted to remove three members of the national executive board,” she said.

The Irish Farmers Journal has contacted the ICA for a comment.

See next week’s Irish Farmers Journal for more coverage of the event.

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