IFA is a democratic association, organised into branches, county executives and national committees.
Our democratic structure gives each member a chance to have a say in the development of IFA policy and priorities.
IFA Constitution and Rules
Each IFA member is a member of an IFA branch. Each IFA branch elects up to four delegates to represent the branch on the relevant County Executive.
The Association’s 29 County Executives play a central role in the organisation, providing a link between national level and branch members on the ground in each county.
The job of the County Executive is to canvass the views of members and branches on policy and other issues, and to represent those views within the Association, through the various National Committees and at National Council. County representatives at national level also have the important task of reporting back to their counties on IFA activities, national policy decisions and other developments.
Each County Executive elects a Chairman. The Chairman is the key IFA leader and chief spokesperson in their county. The Chairman also represents the county on IFA’s governing body, the National Council. The County Chairman is supported by the other elected County officers.
National Committees & Project Teams:
Each County Executive elects representatives to IFA’s National Committees. National Committees have the crucial job of identifying important issues within their sector or area of responsibility, analysing and interpreting issues, and formulating policy and strategy to deal with the challenges facing farmers. Each National Committee elects a Chairman who represents the Committee at National Council.
In addition to National Committees, IFA has Project Teams tasked with advancing specific issues affecting farmers in areas such as flooding, inputs, SACs, etc. The IFA President and National Officers , in consultation with the National Council and National Committees, appoint the members of the Project Teams and their Chairmen are fully accountable to the Council.
The National Council is the national governing body of the IFA, bringing together the County Chairmen, National Committee Chairmen and National Officers under the leadership of the President who chairs its meetings. The Council has a hands-on involvement in devising IFA strategy and providing the engine for policy and delivery.
National Council is comprised of: the President 6 other National Officers 29 County Chairmen plus 2 additional representatives from Kerry and Galway (the only counties with more than twice the average county membership) 16 National Committee Chairmen plus 1 additional Livestock representative Macra na Feirme President and the IFA Director General. The Editor of the Irish Farmers Journal and the President of ICOS are non-voting observer members.
Four Regional Chairmen are elected by County Executives in their region. The regions are Munster, South-Leinster, Ulster/North-Leinster and Connacht. The Regional Chairmen sit on National Council and, together with the President, Deputy President and National Treasurer/Returning Officer, are the National Officers of the Association. They are responsible for communicating with County Executives between Council meetings and co-ordinating campaigns at regional level.
The IFA President and Deputy President are elected through a national vote at branch level, in which all IFA members are entitled to vote. This gives IFA’s leaders a powerful democratic mandate. Voting in IFA’s national elections is by proportional representation (PR).
The Director General is the Chief Executive Officer of the Association. He works very closely with the President at all times in leading the Association and directing resources to achieve IFA’s objectives, and he is accountable to the Council. The Director General is responsible for all matters relating to staff, in consultation with the IFA President and Deputy President.