Saturday 1 October 2016

Farmers may feel let down, but they still need the IFA

Published 28/11/2015 | 02:30

Former IFA general secretary Pat Smith who resigned after 25 years amid controversy over pay
Former IFA general secretary Pat Smith who resigned after 25 years amid controversy over pay

I am writing to you with regard to the ludicrous and shocking revelations of the IFA over the past week and I wish to appeal to the farming community.

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The IFA was a unique organisation, in that farmers put their trust, as well as their money, into this organisation, especially when they could least afford it.

Being a mart manager, a common remark around the ringside this past week is that, in 2013, when farmers suffered badly and could not afford to feed their stock, the top men that claimed to feel their suffering at the time, were in fact creaming the milk.

Being involved with the organisation and also a member, I feel it is important to mention the men who were mostly let down - top table representatives of the local IFA groups around the country. These men, in my opinion, who should have been paid if anyone was, who actually did all the hard graft in dealing and helping the farmers.

They worked tirelessly and never got a penny. How fooled and sick must they feel. I work with several of them and I personally know how hard they worked for an organisation that has failed them.

I am a mart manager in Donegal and have always collected the levy on behalf of the IFA in the mart and have always supported it. I also had a great working relationship with all the staff in our local office who did tremendous work and they must not be forgotten or tarred with the same brush as the hierarchy.

My thoughts go out to these people today. They have been fooled and played. I was even foolish enough to sit down last week and write an email to the IFA, sending it my support, never dreaming that all this information would be uncovered. I feel so disappointed and let down by what I thought was a strong president. Today, unfortunately, we see this executive council for what it is.

The executive council must go. The dinosaur rules must also go and only men and women who have a true regard for farming, small farmers especially, and representatives from all over Ireland, should be reinstated.

I beg the Irish farming community, we need an IFA, we need a new, better IFA. In the coming weeks and months you will be asked to vote for a new president. Now is your time to change things.

Eimear Mc Guinness

Donegal

IFA executive needs to go

If the IFA executive knew nothing of Eddie Downey's deal with Pat Smith, they are incompetent and not fit for office; if they did know, they are compliant and again, not fit for office.

None of the incumbent executive should be allowed to stand in the upcoming presidential election if the organisation is to retain any credibility.

Vincent Ryan

Navan, Co Meath

€2m incentive to retire

Thank goodness I was allowed to work right up to retirement age, without a two million golden handshake to 'force' me out before my time.

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, D9

1916 sullied by avarice

This country has forfeited the right to honour the patriot dead of 1916. Given the level of greed and corruption exposed in all the institutions, from the banks, to the church, politics, big business, the charities and now the farming organisation, it would be the height of hypocrisy to spout platitudes about our founding fathers.

The proclamation of 1916 has been sullied by avarice. The best way to commemorate the noble men of 1916 is to elect a socialist government in the spring.

The first piece of legislation should be a ban on all salaries over €100,000, and a guaranteed income of €30,000 for all working families. The last thing I want to see next Easter is fat cats on platforms in their finely cut suits, preaching about the noble aims of Connolly and Pearse.

Perhaps now the words of Yeats will come to pass a second time round: "Changed, changed utterly, a terrible beauty is born."

Joseph Kiely

Donegal Town, Co Donegal

INMO right to back action

If the Taoiseach and Health Minister Leo Varadkar are so "disappointed" by the INMO's ballot for industrial action, I do hope that they have had an opportunity to take a break from their hectic schedules to view the fly on the wall documentary 'Nurses' which aired on RTE 2 on Thursday.

The programme clearly illustrates the dedication of our nurses and student nurses. As one young man put it, they give it 110pc and cannot walk away from a sick man.

Their patients are their responsibility. That is why the nurses are taking a stand. Overcrowding in our hospitals is compromising patient care. Their dispute is not about money - though it probably should be. Instead of futile commentary, the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health should engage with the INMO and other vested parties to tackle this issue once and for all. If they missed the programme last night, they can catch up on the RTE Player.

Killian Brennan

Malahide Road, Dublin 17

Turkey's EU bid in a new light

Now Turkey has shown its hand in the Syrian conflict, it is time all political parties in Ireland made public their stance on the proposed admission of Turkey to the EU.

The opening lines of Rudyard Kipling's 'The Ballad of East and West' - "East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet" - come to mind.

The danger for Europe, is that a nation whose governments historically rotate between dictator and semi-dictator, will create either an unmanageable EU or a partially democratic Empire.

If the latter, who will be the Emperor or Empress?

A wake-up call for Ireland's political party men and women, particularly the non-thinking noddies in party-room meetings.

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

Irish Independent

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