Nominations for IFA’s national elections close on 24 September.

What elections, I hear you ask? Wasn’t Tim Cullinan elected less than two years ago? He had hardly begun his presidency when the country went into COVID-19 lockdown.

Indeed, that is true.

However, nominations for president and the other national positions are currently required.

One of the changes instituted following the leadership upheaval in 2015 was a return to two-year terms for national officers.

Tim Cullinan has to once again get the nomination of his own county executive in north Tipperary and five other county chairs before Friday week.

That won’t be an issue, and there may be no challenge to his position. Members are aware that with everything on farming’s plate, the IFA has too much to be getting on with. An election now would be disruptive, distracting and divisive.

That said, we will have an election for one national position. Nigel Reneghan is coming to the end of his second two-year term as Ulster/north Leinster regional chair, and must now stand down.

That isn’t the end of the tale, as Reneghan may be looking for a new job.

He has openly spoken of challenging for one of the three positions open to him –president, deputy president or national treasurer/returning officer.

I don’t see any prospect of a challenge to Tim Cullinan. He and Reneghan spent a couple of days in each other’s company last month, attending the branch AGM on Arranmore and meeting the region’s officers.

However, I’ve been hearing rumblings that Nigel may stand against Brian Rushe for the deputy presidency.

Monaghan has held its September county executive, and would have to re-convene in the next week to nominate him.


A Rushe-Renaghan contest would prove just as disruptive as a presidential contest. The national officers were once all elected in tandem, but following Pat Smith’s departure, they fell out of sync.

The resulting uncertainty is a negative energy, and needs addressing.

That contest to replace Nigel Reneghan will be between Monaghan’s Frank Brady and Meath’s John Curran, who have gained the available nominations.

Meath IFA chair John Curran (left) at an IFA protest. \ Barry Cronin

It seems like a missed opportunity for the association.

Cavan chair Elizabeth Ormiston made no secret of the fact that she wanted the job, but has been unable to receive the required two nominations outside her county.

Elizabeth Ormiston, the current Cavan IFA county chair.

Feisty and capable, Ormiston would have been the first woman to contest a national position, something that’s long overdue.