Farmers 'will want to know' who in IFA is paid more than €100k

IFA President Joe Healy Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
IFA President Joe Healy Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

There are calls for further transparency in Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) salaries after it was revealed that senior staff were getting more than €100,000 on average.

Salary figures released by the IFA on Wednesday showed president Joe Healy is being paid €120,000 and has a company car, an Audi A6, as part of his remuneration.

Damian McDonald will take up the director general role in the new year and he will be paid a salary of €185,000.

The director general post came about after general secretary Pat Smith resigned in November 2015 amid speculation about his pay. It emerged he was paid €535,000 in 2013.

But the latest figures from the IFA showed that 15 members of staff were receiving an average €103,912 per year.

However, there was no breakdown given of figures paid to each individual included in that 15. A source close to the executive council told the Irish Independent that grassroots farmers will want to know how much each of these staff members are being paid.

"You're lumping the whole lot in as an average," the source said. "When they [the grassroots] see it, they're going to ask questions, rumours and speculation is going to start to fly."

In a response to a request for a further breakdown of figures, the IFA said it will not provide more than what was released.

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Mr Healy pledged a full rebuilding of trust and transparency while addressing the Executive Council on Wednesday. "At our AGM in April, I pledged to put in place maximum transparency and high standards of governance within IFA to rebuild trust and credibility among farmers," he said.

"We will now move forward to ensure the association is adequately resourced and equipped to continue to deliver the best possible results for farm families."

The pressure is now on new director general Mr McDonald to deliver results for farmers, according to Galway National Council representative Peter Gohery. He expects Mr McDonald, currently Horse Sport Ireland chief executive, to be a strong voice when dealing with Government.

"The lads on the ground will tell you whether it's good or not in a year's time," Mr Gohery said.

"He's putting his neck on the line for farmers and if he doesn't deliver, farmers are going to get rid of him.

"What's happening is that farmers are being squeezed so much these days and we're not getting our fair share of the pie.

"We need a strong representation going forward and I do believe that the IFA is that."

Chairman of the Roscommon branch of the IFA John Hanley said that it is important to have someone of a high calibre fighting their corner.

Mr Hanley is one of 52 voluntary officers on the executive council who receive €4,500 each per year. He said Mr McDonald's pay is value for what he's worth."Pay peanuts and you'll get monkeys. We have professional staff and we want someone to represent us well.

"There's a lot of stuff coming down the line there between Brexit and trade deals and we need the top people there to represent us."

Irish Independent

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