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Irish Countrywomen's Association taken to High Court to stop destruction of ballot papers

One of its members has concerns about recent elections to the executive of the organisation.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Artur Bogacki

A MEMBER OF the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA) is seeking a High Court injunction preventing the organisation from destroying ballot papers returned for its recent elections for executive positions including National President.

The action has been brought by Patricia Madden, a barrister of Saint Mobhi Road in Glasnevin, Dublin 9.

At the High Court today, a lawyer for the ICA gave an undertaking that the ballots would not be destroyed.

In her action, Madden seeks an injunction restraining the ICA from destroying or interfering in any way with ballot papers returned for the organisation’s 2018 national elections for positions of National President, National Secretary. National Treasurer and regional Presidents.

In a sworn statement to the court Madden said the action has been brought due to her, and other members, concerns about the elections for the various positions in the ICA were held.

There were also concerns over alleged breaches of the ICA’s constitution over the last number of months, she said.

She said that votes for the various positions were submitted by post, with a closing date of 27 April last.

The ballot papers, she said, have not been counted and a declaration has not been made as to the names of the successful candidates, which she says is in breach of the ICA’s Constitution.

The results of the election should have been announced before its AGM, which was held in Athlone on 26 May last.

She brought the action because it was “intimated to me” by the Chair of the ICA’s Procedures Committee that the ballot papers would be destroyed at the first available opportunity.

Many members are concerned by the manner how the elections have been handled and want the ballots secured.

The votes she said are currently being held in at a post office box in Ballsbridge, and at the ICA HQ in Dublin.

Representing herself Madden, who has been a member of the ICA since 1979 and has served on the National Executive as an elected member for Leinster, previously secured permission from the High Court to serve short notice of the proceedings on the ICA.

When the matter returned before Ms Justice Carmel Stewart at the High Court today, a solicitor for the ICA gave an undertaking to the court that the ballots would not be destroyed.

The solicitor also asked the court for time to respond to the claim.

The judge adjourned the matter to a date later this month.

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Aodhan O Faolain

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