Farm Ireland
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Saturday 10 December 2016

IFA in focus: Several staffers on basic salaries of €160,000 or more

Louise Hogan and Darragh McCullough

Published 15/12/2015 | 02:30

Cattle (stock photo)
Cattle (stock photo)
Former IFA general secretary Pat Smith resigned last month after it emerged his salary package was worth €445,000

At least one former IFA president received an exit package as his term of office came to a close.

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In addition, Farming Independent has learned that several members of the IFA's full-time executive are still receiving basic salaries of over €160,000 a year.

The latest revelations in the IFA's month-long pay controversy come on the same day that Con Lucey's review of the association's finances and salaries' structure is due to be presented to the national executive in the Farm Centre.

After revelations about huge salaries and other payments to senior officials at the association, the former chief economist to the IFA has returned to complete a review that he originally started nearly 18 months ago.

Mr Lucey had stepped down from the IFA's audit committee citing alleged 'interference' by former general secretary Pat Smith and a lack of accountability in senior level pay for the two top posts in the organisation.

The scandal resulted in the resignation of both Mr Smith and the president, Eddie Downey.

The executive committee will also be under pressure today after nearly half of the IFA's county executives voted in favour of their resignation.

The remaining counties opted to hear the outcome of the Lucey review before making up their minds.

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Resolutions tabled at the last national executive meeting calling for executive committee resignations were postponed until today's gathering.

Despite the turmoil that followed the IFA's repeated efforts to cover up the pay levels of its top brass, the organisation continues to stall on providing any additional information on pay or expenses paid out to senior representatives.

"We're not going there," was an IFA spokesman's response to questions about the pay rates to executive staff.

"We're in a closed period now until Con Lucey's review is complete, and that is what we are aiming at now," he said.

Canvassing

Today's meeting will also hear calls for canvassing and expenditure restrictions in the forthcoming IFA elections.

North Tipperary IFA is seeking the endorsement of the national council for a complete ban on branch canvassing and door-to-door canvassing.

"The election process has become horrendously expensive with election posters and literature, and the number of volunteers travelling all over the country and needs to be controlled," said a statement from the North Tipp executive.

Instead, North Tipperary chairman Tim Cullinane will propose an alternative approach of a specially convened election meeting in each county with all of the candidates. He will also propose a motion that all elections for president, deputy president and regional chairmen be completed not later than April 1.

Irish Independent