IFA will have to rebuild trust with its members
Published 26/11/2015 | 02:30
Even by the standards of long goodbyes, a payoff that lasts for 10 years and which amounts to just under €2m is pretty rich.
The storm surrounding the revelations over the departure of IFA General Secretary Pat Smith shows no sign of abating. It has been argued that to place too much faith in logic is a guaranteed way of ending up cuckolded by reality; even so, by any stretch, it is difficult to get a grasp on the reasoning behind the golden handshake.
The IFA was so convulsed over what was seen as an excessive salary for Mr Smith that the furore ended in his departure. We now learn that this dark cloud has had not so much a silver, but a platinum lining for Mr Smith.
Yesterday the organisation summoned an emergency executive council meeting in Dublin, attended by 53 farmers representing every county and farming sector.
Members were said to be at a loss to understand how such a situation could have been allowed to develop. There was a sense of sadness and even some disbelief.
But it has been said that there is only one kind of shock worse than the totally unexpected: the expected for which one has refused to prepare.
Con Lucey, who has played an honourable role in the story from the beginning - even though his counsel was not taken - has now been tasked with conducting a thorough review of pay and corporate governance in the association. Mr Smith's remuneration will be part of his review. The IFA is paying a very high price for its failure to be forthright and transparent on pay rates. Disillusioned members have been reviewing their membership. A restoration of the trust and voluntarism on which this deeply respected association was built can only be achieved through new leadership and a return to the standards of decency that the farming community demands.