IFA queries why Dairy Board failed to appoint farmer as new chairman

The IFA has given a guarded welcome to the election of Aurivo Co-op chief executive Aaron Forde as the incoming chairman of the Irish Dairy Board, following the resignation of Vincent Buckley.

The IFA had hoped the IDB would elect a farmer into the chair. IFA national dairy committee chairman Kevin Kiersey has been elected as vice-chairman of the IDB, succeeding Jackie Cahill. The four candidates for chairman were Kevin Kiersey, Aaron Forde, Jackie Cahill, and John O’Brien of Barryroe.

IFA president John Bryan said he wished Mr Forde well in the position but added: “Dairy farmers will be asking why none of the three capable and experienced farmer candidates were worthy of selection as chairman.

“The next number of years will be very important for the Irish Dairy Board. As farmers regain control of processing, they will now be demanding strong leadership to sort out the duplication of costs and activities to ensure the IDB is fit for purpose as the sector expands and develops.”

A Cavan native, Mr Forde has been chief executive of Aurivo Co-op (formerly Connacht Gold Co-op) since 2003. Prior to joining Aurivo, he was managing director of Adams Foods Ingredients, an IDB subsidiary based in the UK. He joined the IDB board in 2004.

Mr Buckley, who is a farmer and former chairman of Dairygold Co-Op in Cork, held the IDB chairmanship since 2010. Mr Buckley was preceded by former Newmarket Co-op chief Michael Cronin, who had spent eight years in the role, a non-executive position for which the holder is elected by the Irish Dairy Board.

IDB chief executive, Kevin Lane, thanked Vincent Buckley and Jackie Cahill for their sincere commitment to the board during their tenures as chairman and vice chairman.

ICMSA president John Comer congratulated Mr Forde on his election. Mr Comer said that Mr Ford’s election comes at a very challenging time for the IDB when more scrutiny than ever is being directed at the performance of the board and the prices being attained and returned.

Mr Comer said: “Milk suppliers will judge performance according to the price they themselves receive and that was as it should be. We hope and trust the welfare and viability of the family dairy farm will play a central role in the formulation and direction of IDB policy.”

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