IFA must act swiftly to regain its credibility
Published 25/11/2015 | 02:30
Let's call it as it stands. Have the IFA opened the books and offered total transparency on salaries and payments to top staff? No, clearly they have not.
Even as the reputation of the country's strongest farm lobby group lies in tatters after the revelations that former general secretary Pat Smith earned €535,000 in a single year, it is still playing for time on full disclosure.
Now is the time for them to deliver answers to all the questions being asked by grassroots members.
It is time the association's president Eddie Downey and the entire executive board revealed the compensation and pay packages for all those at the top.
It is clear that Mr Smith possessed a strong commercial business sense. He established the lucrative IFA Telecoms members' service and had proved a very able negotiator over the years.
Yet Mr Smith's earnings in recent years - including 2013, the year of the fodder crisis - were almost 20 times that of the average farmer or eight times the earnings of an average dairy farmer.
This was in an organisation with a budget of over €12m.
The lack of accountability within the IFA on senior pay scales was highlighted by former chief economist Con Lucey over a year ago when he resigned from the audit committee.