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In Pictures: Limerick man launches IFA presidential campaign

OOLA’S Martin Stapleston launched his IFA presidential campaign in style at a packed event in the Great National Ballykisteen Hotel.

The Tipperary theme continued with none other than Liam Sheedy sitting at the top table on Saturday night.

He was joined by three Limerick men - county chairman Sean Lavery, former IFA vice-president Richard Kennedy and former IFA president John Dillon.

They are all backing Mr Stapleton to become the next IFA president. The dairy farmer started off by revealing he hopes to do a lot better than in a previous IFA election!

“Years ago, when I left Macra to join the IFA, there was a vacancy for the Limerick vice-chairperson. At my first IFA meeting, I went for the position. Not surprisingly, I didn’t win!

“But after the meeting, the then Munster vice-president Donal Kelly came over to me and said: ‘Don’t let that set you back, you have shown the ability to be president of the IFA someday',” recalled Mr Stapleton.

And now that “someday” has come.

“With your backing, your campaigning and your votes, I will serve as the next president of the IFA!” he told the crowd.

Mr Stapleton said he will make “no false promises - I offer only honesty and hard work”.

He listed out the four tenets of his campaign and priorities if elected IFA president.

To restore respect for farmers.

To foster unity in the IFA.

To ensure that we have freedom to farm.

To protect our incomes so we can all have a viable livelihood.

“More than ever, farmers are the backbone of rural Ireland and the reason we have an unrivalled reputation at home and abroad for producing quality food. We produce enough food to feed 40 million people! That’s our unique advantage, our source of pride, and it must never be taken for granted.

“I will not accept policies that only make sense on desks in Brussels and Dublin that ignore the value of food production. Policy must get the balance between food production and environmental issues right and make sense when it hits the fields and farmyards,” said Mr Stapleton, who is married to Siobhan - the couple have three teenage children James, Vicky, Jessica.

At the end of a wide-ranging and informative speech, Mr Stapleton said: “My pledge, if elected, is that you will all be heard within this organisation.

“My promise is that the IFA will be heard - loud and clear - at every level in order to secure the future of every Irish farmer.

“Friends, thank you for listening. Let’s go out and campaign to make this happen!” It was greeted with loud applause.

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