New vote on Glanbia Co-op row over Kilkenny man Robert Prendergast as IFA sides with farmer

HOPES are high that the shock decision not to ratify Robert Prendergast on to the board of Glanbia Co-op’s governing council will be overturned. Following a lengthy meeting of the 86 man body yesterday (Tuesday) in Glanbia House it was decided to have another vote on the matter.

HOPES are high that the shock decision not to ratify Robert Prendergast on to the board of Glanbia Co-op’s governing council will be overturned. Following a lengthy meeting of the 86 man body yesterday (Tuesday) in Glanbia House it was decided to have another vote on the matter.

This followed legal advice on the issue which has put farmer against farmer on whether or not Mr Prendergast should have been voted on to the board by the council after the farmers in his area voted overwhelmingly to keep him on the council. It was the first time ever that a farmer chosen by his own area failed to get ratified by the council of Glanbia Co-op. Barowvale have again put him forward for ratification but under the rules of the co-op, the council can choose another person, not put forward by the farmers in the area, which seems on the face of it to be undemocratic. However, it now seems that a compromise may be reached and this time it is expected that the vote on Mr Prendergast’s tenure will be a lot tighter when it is held next Wednesday.

The chairwoman of Kilkenny Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Joan Fitzpatrick, has said farmers are very angry that the Council of Glanbia refused to ratify his nomination in the first place. “This is a dilemna for farmers and on the face of it would appear undemocratic,” she claimed in a hard hitting statement which puts the spotlight on the council to see if it will approve Mr Prendergast who voted against the plan by Glanbia Co-op to form a venture with the Plc in respect of the dairy ingredients Ireland business.

She said the decision not to ratify him would lead to an erosion of power from the regional structure of the co-op which in turn could undermine the whole Glanbia co-op structure.

Glanbia Co-op chairman, Liam Herlihy hit back, saying that the manner in which Mr Prendergast was treated was wholly democratic and within the rules of the co-op. A press statement from Glanbia Co-op issued later, said that at a scheduled meeting of the 86 member Council of Glanbia Society on Wednesday, 13 March 2013, four nominees were put forward for re-election to the Board of the Society. Following a secret ballot, overseen by two independent scrutineers appointed by the Council, two of the four nominations were accepted and two were rejected. One of those rejected was Mr Prendergast.