Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) president Francie Gorman has moved to distance himself from one of the candidates running in the European elections.

Gorman was pictured with Midlands North West candidate Maria Walsh’s father Vincent Walsh at the All-Ireland Sheep Shearing Championships at the weekend, who was holding a sign for Walsh’s campaign.

Walsh had posted on X (formerly Twitter): “It takes a village. Here is my father, Vincent Walsh (centre) and manager of my poster campaign pictured with IFA president Francie Gorman and Corofin farmers Stephen Canavan, chairman of the Galway branch of the IFA.” She had tagged the IFA in the tweet.

The tweet has since been deleted. However, the post remains on Walsh’s LinkedIn profile.

Maria Walsh posted this photo on her LinkedIn of IFA president Francie Gorman and Galway IFA chair Stephen Canavan at the sheep shearing championships.

Responding, Gorman said that he was pleased to meet Maria's father and many others at a great sheep shearing event in Mountbellew on Sunday.

“Just to be clear, this photo should not be taken as an endorsement of Maria as a candidate in the upcoming election,” he said.

IFA rules

The IFA wrote to members of its national council and staff in April to remind them of the IFA’s rules about remaining non-party political and not supporting any party or individual candidates in the elections.

Members were told to “please be conscious of standing into photos with candidates and the risks of these being presented as endorsing an individual candidate or candidates”.

The IFA constitution states that the IFA “shall remain non-party political and non-sectarian and shall not sponsor, put forward or support candidates or candidates' substitutes for the parliament of the European Community, Dáil Éireann, Seanad Éireann, county or urban district councils or presidential elections”.