'There was hurt, it felt like being let down by a friend' - IFA president on pay scandal
THE IFA president Joe Healy has stressed the organisation has gone above and beyond any legal accountancy requirements as it strives to deliver transparency to the farm families that back them following the pay revelations.
"There was a lot of hurt. The people that were hurting maybe were absolutely die-hard IFA men. One top-class IFA man down through the years told me he felt like he was let down by his best friend. There would be many similar to him," he said.
"All they wanted was the IFA to be in the news for what they were lobbying on - such as meeting Michel Barnier on Brexit negotiations or Commissioner Hogan for funding CAP going forwards, or meeting politicians on the ANC review."
Now, a visible return to concentrating on the important issues that impact on farmers' pockets through commodity prices has seen sentiment improve. The president feels new chief executive Damian McDonald, formerly of Horse Sport Ireland and a past Macra president, has been positive for the organisation, bringing experience and business acumen.
Now they are working to ensure the organisation remains adequately funded to continue the lobbying services both here and in Brussels that Irish farmers need.
The 2016 annual report showed membership at 75,829 - a drop on the 88,000 it stated just three years ago.