The performance of Irish MEPs in Brussels was heavily criticised in Cahir on Monday night 17 October at the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) Munster chair debate and voting.

"At least half of our MEPs are not farmer friendly. We can't end up sending those back again," Munster chair candidate Conor O'Leary said.

Another candidate in the running, Mark Connors, said that he wishes that people would realise that if certain MEPs got their way, Europe would starve.

"A quote from Pippa Hackett in February 2022 said 'levelling of payments will see more part-time farmers and less intensive farmers, which is something which should be welcomed' - they're celebrating facts of making farmers unviable and to me that's a crazy position," Connors said.

This was prompted by a question from the floor by IFA animal health committee chair TJ Maher.

He said: "Given the fact that the next CAP is going to be designed and managed in essence by a parliament - as the last one was - what would you do to advise the people on the floor to use their vote for the upcoming European elections?"

'More militant'

Candidates were also asked if they became Munster chair, how would they deal with a minister for agriculture "who won't talk to us" [IFA] - a question posed by Colm Taylor from Dundrum IFA branch.

"The reason the Minister isn’t talking to us is because he has got us where he wants us," Connors said.

Meanwhile, O'Leary said that the IFA needs to be more militant with politicians.

"They need to be in a position where they are never sure what we [IFA] are going to do. We’ve got to show face – we’ve got to put people on the streets at times and I think the IFA are a little nervous of these protests, but they can be done in the right way," he said.


Among the three candidates running for Munster chair are Conor O'Leary from Cork, Mark Connors from Waterford and Francie Foley from Kerry.

The first night of voting took place in Cahir on Monday night for south Tipperary IFA branches. However, despite Francie Foley not being in attendance on Monday night, branch officers could still cast their vote for him if they so wished.