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Claim and counter claim in Beef Plan row

CLAIM and counter claim continues to be levelled by farmers concerning a controversial annual general meeting of Clare Beef Plan, which was held in the Auburn Lodge Hotel last January.

In a statement issued to the Clare Champion, Dermot O’Brien, who signs off as “Beef Plan Movement National spokesperson” has taken issue with a Clare Champion report outlining the return of Joe Woulfe as chairman of Clare Beef Plan.

“The title of the article “Woulfe resumes as chair of Beef plan” is inaccurate and the organisation is requesting that clarification on this article be made available.

“Mr Woulfe is not the chairman of Clare Beef Plan and this position is currently filled by Rory Slattery as an interim chair.

“There are difficulties in the Beef Plan Movement as an organisation currently, where proper election procedures were not followed and where the rules of governance and supplementary regulations were not followed,” he alleged.

The national Beef Plan movement is in turmoil amid claims two different factions are battling to assume overall control.

Speaking to the Clare Champion after the annual general meeting last January, Mr O’Brien claimed this meeting was “unauthorised” because the national committee deferred all elections until Beef Plan held its EGM at a later date in Portlaoise.

However, Clare Beef Plan chairman, Joe Woulfe, secretary, Blath Cooney and vice-chairman Pat Nagle have also issued a statement taking issue with Mr O’Brien’s claims.

They stated the annual general meeting was held in accordance with Rule 7(v) of Beef Plan Rules of Governance and noted all of the outgoing committee, including those who now dispute
the elections, were involved in the organisation of the AGM and elections.

“Rory Slattery attended the AGM as a member of the outgoing committee. Presumably he would not have attended, seated himself at the committee table and advised his associate to stand for election if he felt that it was ‘unauthorised’.

“It is also notable that Dermot O’Brien and a number of his associates attempted to
attend the AGM as proxies for Clare Beef Plan members. Unfortunately their proxies had not been
notified to the secretary in advance in accordance with Rule 19(v), and consequently could not be
verified. Again, these were not the actions of a person who considered the AGM to be
‘unauthorised’.

“Following his failure to gain admittance using an invalid proxy, Dermot O’Brien then sought
to simply walk in, even though he was not a Clare member. The members present voted by a large
majority not to allow the Kerry member to attend to address them. They further voted, again by a
large majority, to proceed with the meeting and the elections.

“Rory declined to stand for office himself but advised his associate Ragna Cloontabonnive to contest for the position of chair. A secret ballot was conducted and Joseph Woulfe was overwhelmingly elected as Chair.

“In accordance with Rule 37(v), Joseph stood down for the duration of the General Election and the elected vice- chair became acting chair. When the elections were completed, he resumed his position as chair.

“This would be normal in any organisation,” they stated.

They claimed Mr O’Brien has no authority to overrule Clare farmers and unilaterally declare Rory Slattery as Clare Beef Plan chairman.

“Clare Beef Plan utterly reject any assertion that an unelected member should appoint himself as a representative of Clare farmers.

“The committee intend to continue our efforts on behalf of Clare farmers despite the efforts of Mr O’Brien and his associates to undermine our efforts and destroy our fledgling organisation,” they added.

 

Dan Danaher

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