IFA Munster’s Rising Stars: Shining a Spotlight on the Power of Communication!

"Communication Key Focus for Munster Regional Chairperson Candidates in Irish Farmers' Association Election"

Two candidates vying for the Munster regional chairpersonship of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) have emphasized the importance of effective communication within the organization and with the general public. Mark Connors from Co. Waterford and Conor O’Leary from Co. Cork are eagerly awaiting the results of the upcoming IFA elections. Both candidates have expressed concerns about the IFA’s communication practices. Connors believes that the organization needs to improve its communication with the media and society outside of the “agri-bubble.” Meanwhile, O’Leary has drawn attention to the need for better internal communication, especially with members who may not be familiar with modern forms of communication.

Connors, a member of the IFA environment committee, has criticized the association’s communication skills, particularly when it comes to engaging with the general public. He believes that the IFA’s director general, currently Damian McDonald, should serve as the association’s main spokesperson, rather than the president. Connors cites the example of Tom Parlon, the director general of the Construction Industry Federation, who has successfully built a reputation in the industry. Connors argues that the IFA needs to articulate its message more effectively in public and anticipate future challenges in order to inform the debate.

Connors also acknowledges that IFA presidents, who may have been elected for reasons other than their communication skills, should not be expected to engage with media commentators who are critical of agriculture. He believes that such debates are fundamentally unfair, as experts in specific topics have an advantage over IFA presidents, whose remit is much broader. Connors dismisses the one-sided narrative propagated by the media and emphasizes the need for proper communication, particularly in the public debate surrounding farming’s role in the environment and climate change.

O’Leary, on the other hand, focuses on the need for improved communication within the IFA itself. He acknowledges that the current communication methods are insufficient, as many members are unaware of the organization’s activities and achievements. O’Leary suggests exploring electronic forms of communication, but recognizes the challenge of familiarizing all members with these platforms. He believes that electronic communication will be the way forward, but acknowledges the need to bridge the gap and ensure that all members can make use of these tools.

The communication issue raised by O’Leary is closely linked to another concern he would address if elected as the Munster regional chairperson. He believes that the IFA should adopt a team approach to engage with county-level issues, rather than leaving them solely in the hands of relevant officers. O’Leary proposes regular meetings among county officers to discuss and collectively address various topics and issues. This collaborative approach would ensure that no officer is left to handle matters alone.

In conclusion, both candidates for the Munster regional chairpersonship of the IFA recognize the importance of effective communication within the organization and with the general public. Connors emphasizes the need for improved external communication, while O’Leary highlights the importance of better internal communication and a team approach to address county-level issues. The results of the IFA elections next month will determine which candidate will have the opportunity to implement their vision for improved communication within the association.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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