€535,000 pay package for top executive rocks farm body
Details of the pay and perks of the top executives in the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA)are under the spotlight after it emerged a former general secretary received €535,000 in a single year.
After a week of controversy, it was revealed that Pat Smith was in receipt of a significant pension contribution of €150,000 a year yet the key farm lobby group has refused to reveal his pension pot or if he received a 'golden handshake'.
Farmers have demanded openness and transparency from the country's largest farming body, which admitted Mr Smith's pay package was "unacceptable" and "not sustainable".
After a meeting of the association's executive council yesterday, IFA president Eddie Downey said a robust debate on the future of the organisation had taken place, as grassroots members voiced concern over the significant six-figure sum being handed down to its top executive.
Members of the executive council that run the organisation expressed shock over the revelation of the six-figure sum being paid to Mr Smith in the wake of his resignation.
Mr Downey confirmed the former general secretary received a total package of €445,000 in 2014. This included a basic salary of €295,000 with a pension contribution of €150,000.
However, the total figure for 2013 stood at €535,000, including a bonus of €60,000 and director's fees of €30,000 from the IFA Telecom service that Mr Smith played a role in setting up. Mr Smith was also provided with a company car.
Despite repeated requests over recent weeks and months, the IFA refused to reveal the salary to the Irish Independent, and failed to respond to queries on whether Mr Smith was receiving a part of his package from IFA Telecom.