JAMES REYNOLDS, who is spearheading a No to Lisbon campaign on behalf of a breakaway group of farmers, emerged in the 2005 IFA election as the organisation’s self-appointed “Mr Clean”.
Reynolds or other members of the Family Farm Protection Group (FFPG) popped up at meeting after meeting to put awkward questions to the candidates, in their declared quest “to restore trust, honour and integrity in the IFA”.
Reynolds wasn’t fully satisfied with candidates’ answers, and he wrote to the IFA’s national returning officer, lodging complaints against three senior officers, including two presidential candidates.
Reynolds said he wanted to keep IFA 100% “above board”, by demanding full disclosure of election candidates’ non-farming interests, and full accountability of IFA executives.
Most of the FFPG members had been active in the successful 2001 campaign to elect John Dillon as IFA president, and Reynolds said in 2005: “Those who supported John Dillon’s election platform for the radicalisation of farming politics have not gone away.”
Dillon in his election campaign had called for control of IFA to be taken back by the “grass roots” farmers. But as president, he said Reynolds was “quite mischievous”, in promoting false impressions of centralised control in IFA.
He responded to Reynolds’ demands by defending IFA’s professional support team, and pointing out all officers and staff had to fully disclose interests outside farming.
Chairman of IFA in Longford for four years, until he dropped out to contest the county council election in 2004, Reynolds has called for full disclosure of corporate donations to the IFA.
He targeted the levy on livestock which beef processors pay to IFA and has accused the IFA of making major policy decisions without consulting its national council governing body.
This year has seen him oppose the association’s support for phasing out the EU milk quota system.
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