Dairy exporter Ornua refuses to clarify how €9.2m pay was shared
The country's largest dairy exporter Ornua has refused to break down the pay of its top executive team, as it emerged nine top bosses shared a pay and pensions pot of €9.2m over the past two years.
It comes as Irish dairy farmers face a challenging year with milk prices plummeting in the new post-quota era.
Ornua is the commercial co-op that markets produce such as the well-known Kerrygold butter brand on behalf of the dairy processors and farmers.
New financial rules saw it disclose senior pay figures in its annual report for the first time - but no breakdown of who gets what pay. It also showed the 14 directors - including Glanbia Ingredients Ireland's Jim Bergin, Dairygold's Jim Woulfe, and other dairy co-op figures - received €509,000 between all of them last year.
This was a 44pc rise since 2013 when €352,000 was paid. An individual breakdown was not provided. Ornua chairman Aaron Forde insisted they have a "strong governance" record at the firm with a remuneration committee in place to report back to the board on pay levels.
"We have a strong governance story to tell here, we have no qualms about that," he said.
"We are the only co-op in Europe to reveal our directors' fees ... if you look at lots of our peers in Europe, they don't reveal the level that we reveal. So we feel we are in good shape in that respect."
It follows a year where pay levels in the agri-sector have been under the spotlight after it emerged the general secretary of the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) received close to €1m over two years.