IFA pay: €2m pension pot for former chief Pat Smith
'Golden handshake' exit still to be decided
Published 25/11/2015 | 02:30
The former general secretary of the Irish Farmers' Association will be walking away from the embattled farm lobby body with a €2m pension pot, as a major review of pay and governance gets under way to try to tackle the fallout.
It is also understood negotiations are continuing over any potential 'golden handshake' for Pat Smith after he resigned from his position after 25 years with the organisation last week.
The executive, including the president Eddie Downey, deputy president Tim O'Leary and treasurer Jer Bergin have faced calls to step down from the national executive after it emerged Mr Smith earned almost €1m over two years.
It also emerged Mr Downey, who has 'stepped back' from his role as president to allow a review take place, earned a €147,000 salary from the IFA, with a further €30,000 in directors fees for 2014 from insurer FBD and €10,970 from Bord Bia.
In addition to these earnings of almost €200,000, Mr Downey would have received expenses since taking up his role in January 2014.
IFA deputy president Tim O'Leary, who is now fulfilling the role of president, said they would be bound by the "very strong law" and "confidentiality" governing employees as the negotiations over Mr Smith's exit package continue. It is understood Mr Downey, Mr Smith and the IFA's solicitors discussed the former general secretary's exit last Thursday but any potential exit package was not finalised.
"When it is finalised and agreed we will say what it is, it will be in our accounts. People are entitled to know now," said Mr O'Leary.
The IFA national council are due to meet today as farmers around the country have called for answers and threatened to withdraw membership and levies from the organisation.