Friday 2 December 2016

The Yates Anthology: IFA needs leader with no baggage

Published 19/12/2015 | 02:30

Pat Smith. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Pat Smith. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

So much for the notion that Con Lucey's report on remuneration would provide closure to the IFA crisis of self-aggrandisement.

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Critical questions remain unanswered: what were the remuneration regimes prior to 2009? What are top executives in Bluebell/Brussels currently paid? Who determined defined benefit pension entitlements of staff? Where's the transparent breakdown of €11m of annual expenditures? What are the precise relationships between the IFA and the FBD/Agricultural Trust at executive and directorship levels? There's still no clarity on former general secretary Pat Smith's €2m severance package.

The new revelations presented more bombshells for ordinary members. It wasn't enough that Mr Smith was paid €500k annually, including a 30pc bonus; an additional pension top-up of €1.2m places the IFA alongside the Central Remedial Clinic for raiding resources. It seems mindbending to pay presidents after retirement an additional year's salary. It simply defies logic as they had now returned home to their farms, and there was no longer the need to hire a replacement manager. It also seems highly questionable to confer routinely FBD non-executive directorships to past presidents.

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