By Dan Walsh
James Kehoe, (41), a suckler to beef, sheep and tillage farmer from Monageer, near Enniscorthy, has served as Chairman of Wexford IFA (Irish Farmers Association) for almost four years, but he faces a fresh challenge as a lively enthusiastic contender for the important position of Chairman of South Leinster IFA when the election takes place early next month.
With his four-year term as Wexford County Chairman nearing an end, he is now currently standing for election as South Leinster Chairman. This post covers eight counties (Laois, Offaly, Kildare, Kilkenny, Carlow, Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford), and allows him to represent them on the Board of the IFA.
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions this is the first time it will be a Postal Vote with approximately 750 delegates eligible to cast their vote across the region. Ballot papers will be distributed about December 6th, they will need to be returned around December 17th-18th, and then the count will take place.
While relatively young in IFA terms, James has a wealth of experience under his belt at this stage. This includes dealing with local farmer issues such as animal welfare, sheep attacks, vulture funds, fair deal and many infrastructure problems with local roads and services in Wexford.
James has considerable experience in community involvement and has been prominent in fundraising and assisting charities as well as being a member of many of local organisations including the County Show Committee, Co. Wexford Farmers’ Club, Initiation Team for Wexford Live Crib and the County Wexford Rural Ireland Crime Prevention Forum.
James Kehoe has been heavily involved in the IFA since he joined the organisation in 1996 and in that time, he has held the position of Chairman in his local branch of Monageer from 2005 to 2009. He represented Wexford on the National Sheep Committee where he was also a member of the Management Committee. He was Vice Chairman of Wexford from 2015 – 2016 and he then went on to be elected Chairman of Wexford IFA in 2017.
Some of his highlights include being one of the main drivers and negotiators for the IFA during the setting up a Sheep Welfare Scheme which was of huge benefit to Irish Sheep Farmers and the environment. All too often there are reports of major sheep kills and James was instrumental in getting a second Dog Warden employed in the county. This has helped elevate the untold tragedy of unlicensed dogs causing damage and distress, not alone to animals, but, to farm families dealing with the aftermath.
He dealt with many issues that arose during the construction of the Enniscorthy and New Ross bypasses. This required discussions with TII, BAM and the local county council. These negotiations took a lot of time and energy and achieved a favourable outcome for the landowners, but he and his team saw each issue through to completion.