IFA could face legal action on levy system
And marts are threatening to withdraw from collection role
Published 09/12/2015 | 02:30
The Irish Farmers' Association's automatic deduction of levies from farmers could leave them open to a legal challenge.
As a growing number of members cancel their payments through marts, meat plants and dairy processors, calls have increased for a review of all funding to the IFA.
"The whole structure of the levy is a very questionable legal basis," said Fianna Fail's agriculture spokesman, Éamon Ó Cuív.
"I don't know of any other voluntary charge that is levied in such a way that it is taken before you agree to it.
"The fact that it is collected across the board, whether you are a member or not, makes it even more dubious.
"In addition, I think it weakens the IFA to be dependent on the same people for collecting their income that they are charged with challenging on behalf of farmers," he said.
"If it is ever successfully challenged in court it could create a massive liability for the organisation."
New questions over how the levies are administered have emerged, including how much is paid to levy collectors such as the meat factories in administrative fees, and a breakdown of what farmers are paying the money.