Farm Ireland

Friday 28 October 2016

Several IFA execs 'call on deputy president Tim O'Leary to ensure salaries remain confidential' in letter

Published 15/12/2015 | 11:50

Tim O'Leary
Tim O'Leary

SEVERAL MEMBERS of the executive staff at the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) have called on deputy president Tim O’Leary to ensure the “confidentiality” of staff salaries are fully respected.

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It has emerged that several full-time management executives are on salaries of more than €160,000 a year.

The letter sent to Mr O’Leary raised concerns ahead of the review into pay and governance by former chief economist Con Lucey that will be unveiled today to the IFA executive council in its Farm Centre headquarters in Bluebell, Dublin.

The staff  warned that the association may be “exposing itself to potential liabilities” including “constructive dismissal, breaches of confidentiality, data protection breaches and professional damages” if remuneration is revealed.

The letter raised concerns in relation to the “turmoil” within the association.

They state that it was agreed Mr Lucey would carry out a full review of the levels of executive staff salaries and make recommendations to the executive council.

“We understand that executive staff salaries in IFA are comparable and in line with levels in equivalent roles in the Department of Agriculture and other semi states and agri-agencies,” it states.

“It is of the utmost importance to the professional reputation of the executive staff that the confidentiality in respect of staff remuneration is fully respected and abided by the association. The executive staff have clear legal protection in this regard and the association has clear legal responsibilities and obligations.”

It warns of the potential legal ramifications for the IFA if executive staff salaries are publicised and it results in staff being unable to undertake their jobs effectively.

The letter dated November 26 last states that further legal correspondence will follow.

Mr Lucey’s report is due to be presented to all the members of the executive council of the IFA today. He was working as part of the IFA’s audit committee around 18 months ago but stepped down citing alleged ‘interference’ and he also highlighted a lack of accountability in senior level pay for the top two posts in the organisation.

Former IFA general secretary Pat Smith resigned last month after it emerged his remuneration amounted to almost €1m over two years. A controversial €2m ‘golden handshake’ was agreed as he left the organisation.

Then former IFA president Eddie Downey resigned after the executive council was told he had signed off on the package.

Mr Smith, who recently called for €1m of the package to be given to charity before Christmas, is in dispute with the IFA over the redundancy package. The IFA have insisted they will contest the exit package.

He has launched a High Court action against the IFA, with papers lodged last Friday.

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