IFA deputy presidential candidate Pat Murphy said he is “not happy” with a reduction in farmer representation on the board of ifac.

Responding to questions on the rationale behind the reduction in the size of the ifac board at the IFA election hustings in Goresbridge, Co Kilkenny, last week, Murphy said that he fought against the changes, which occurred at an ifac special general meeting in autum 2022.

The Galway farmer was one of two IFA representatives on the board when it was reduced from 17 to 14 members.

Rathvilly farmer John Kehoe insisted that the board was reduced without the knowledge of ifac members.

“It’s important [because] 20,000 farmers whose interests were not represented, who were not notified, and the only thing during that period that we got from the ifac board was a bill in the post for the annual expenses incurred at an individual farm level. [There was] no communication, no meetings, no nothing,” Kehoe said.

On the board changes, Murphy said: “I fought against it, as did Padraic Joyce, the other nomination from IFA. In the reduction, we’ve lost out on one of our board members.

“IFA, and I can only go on my own actions, fought long and hard to keep the number of the board members the same, to make sure that farmers have a voice. Farm organisations, we lost out a part in that. Other farm organisations did not support us,” he said.

Ifac advertised the SGM meeting via advertisements in the Irish Farmers Journal and the changes were made following “a lot of thought and discussion”, said chair Brendan Lawlor.

“This wasn’t done on a whim at all. There’s no hidden agenda. Nothing was done in secret,” he added.

Murphy’s rival candidate in the IFA deputy president race Alice Doyle said she was “very disappointed” with the board’s reduction, particularly the farmer representation.

“I would find that very hard to accept but it happened and it happened outside my time and I wasn’t within that,” she said.