Eddie Downey resigns as IFA President
The President of the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) resigned from his role, as an emergency meeting of the lobby group heard the former general secretary had received a €2m 'golden handshake'.
The meeting of the country's largest farm lobby group heard that the now former president Eddie Downey had agreed the package with Pat Smith as he stepped down from the role last week.
The county representatives from across the country voted to challenge the exit package for Mr Smith in the courts. The deputy general secretary Bryan Barry told the emergency meeting of the executive council that it included €1m upfront and €100,000 a year for 10 years.
An election for the role of president is now in the offing, as Mr Downey said his decision to permanently resign was a "difficult" one but was taken in the best interest of the association he has served for 25 years.
Earlier this week, Mr Downey had stepped back from his €147,000 a year role as a review into pay and corporate governance issues got underway.
"In taking on the role of president of IFA, I did so on the same terms of all presidents who have had the honour of serving in this role before me. I made no demands or requests that I be treated any differently to former holders of the office," said Mr Downey as the Meath man resigned.
"My sole interest and motivation in taking on the onerous role as president of IFA was to work tirelessly and be judged by my record of delivery for Irish farmers here and in Brussels."
Mr Downey stated he had demanded the highest levels of governance and accountability within the IFA as he resigned the post.