With additional reporting by Breifne O’Brien at the count centre in Castleknock

Tim Cullinan has been elected as the next president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), and will succeed outgoing president Joe Healy.

Cullinan was elected following the second count in the association’s presidential election. The count took place today, Tuesday, December 17, at the Castleknock Hotel in Dublin.

After the first count, Cullinan had accumulated 8,334 votes, nearly 1,000 votes ahead of the next candidate.

Margins can’t get much tighter than in the election for deputy president. After a recount, just 34 votes separated the new deputy president Brian Rushe and contender Thomas Cooney. The final tallies were 11,379 votes for Rushe and 11,345 for Cooney on 11,345.

Kildare dairy farmer Rushe will succeed outgoing deputy president Richard Kennedy.

The count followed on from the voting procedure, which took place at IFA meetings throughout the country from November 25 to last Friday, December 13.

Cullinan beat out competition from national livestock chairman Angus Woods and Munster regional chairman John Coughlan.

Following the first count, Angus Woods was eliminated, with his number two votes being distributed during the second count.

This saw Cullinan take a total of 11,497 votes, beating the 9,937 achieved by Coughlan.

The vote followed a hard-fought campaign that saw all three candidates taking part in hustings at several locations throughout the country, which concluded on November 21.

Image source: Finbarr O’Rourke

Up to this, Cullinan has served as the IFA’s national treasurer.

The Co. Tipperary native is currently involved in pig farming, but also has background in dairy, beef and tillage.

Cullinan has also served in a number of committee and county roles for the IFA.

Image source: Finbarr O’Rourke

During the campaign, Cullinan highlighted a number of issues, and sought to bring significant attention to, particularly, the splintering of farmer representative bodies.

He expressed his wish to return “unity” to farm politics.

The incoming president will replace Joe Healy, who has been in office since 2016.

The reins of the organisation will be handed over at the IFA AGM, which is expected to take place early in the new year.