Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Thursday 27 April 2017

New IFA president pledges review of pay and working conditions at organisation

The new IFA president Joe Healy got a brief chance to celebrate with his wife Margaret and supporters before he was headed to the corridors of power in Brussels. Photo: Damien Eagers.
The new IFA president Joe Healy got a brief chance to celebrate with his wife Margaret and supporters before he was headed to the corridors of power in Brussels. Photo: Damien Eagers.
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

THE new president of the Irish Farmers' Association has pledged that governance will be strengthened and the levels of transparency increased as he addressed farmers' for the first time.

Galway farmer Joe Healy (49), who was last week elected to the IFA following the recent pay controversy, said he was determined to lead a united and strong organisation.

"Members have been let down by failures in transparency, governance and decision making," the dairy and cattle farmer said during his address to the National Executive and outgoing members attending the AGM at the IFA headquarters in Dublin's Bluebell.

Mr Healy said a review of pay and working conditions at all levels will be undertaken.

Mr Healy said he would begin the process for the appointment of a new director general, after former general secretary Pat Smith after it emerged his pay package amounted to almost €1m over two years.

Mr Healy is filling the seat vacated by former president Eddie Downey who stepped down after the pay controversy erupted late last year.

Mr Healy said it was totally unacceptable that farmers, who do most of the work in producing high-quality food, are receiving a price below the cost of production.

"We need a rebalancing of power in the food supply chain," he said. "The aggressive behaviour of dominant retailers towards smaller suppliers, particularly vegetable, fruit and potato growers must be stopped."

Another key issue for farmers has been the cost of borrowing, Mr Healy said the new government must prioritise new sources of finance to increase competition.

Mr Healy said politicians need to "get serious" about the real income crisis on Irish farms. He called for a dedicated minister with sole responsibility for agriculture and food in the new government.

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