Almost 14 months to the day after its General Secretary resigned and a furore over salaries ensued, IFA President Joe Healy has declared that the IFA is a “happy organisation”.
Speaking at its AGM, nine months into the role, Healy said that his time in office has been busy and challenging, but praised the support he had received from IFA members and its Executive Council during that time.
“The support was like an injection of energy that you’d get from the members.”
At the 62nd AGM of the Association, Healy said that a lot had changed under his leadership, including the appointment of a new Director General Damian McDonald, who is due to take up the role from today.
He said that greater transparency was now part of the organisation, with individual payments to the President, Deputy President and Director General made known, while aggregate payments to other senior management, senior staff and Executive Council detailed.
He also said that income and expenditure was more transparent now than previously, while a huge amount of work had been done around governance within the organisation.
Healy also said that the collection of levies was ongoing with marts, meat factories and co-ops and IFA was receiving a positive response to this process.
IFA receives about one third of its income in recent years from the collection of levies, which were worth approximately €4.7m to the Association and a review of its income streams last year advised that its income streams would continue as is.
Last year, the Larry Goodman-owned ABP moved to offer farmers an automatic opt out of levies and IFA requested that ABP would not continue to collect any levies on behalf of IFA. It was a move that was estimated to cost IFA in the region of €400,000 on an annual basis in lost levies.
Healy said that there has been no communication with ABP recently, but that he would like to see a situation…that the door would be open to sit down with ABP again and discuss the levy with them.
However, he also said that there is a process there to claim back levies.
“There is a process there and there is a time period on it, which has always been there, of a year…but there is a lot of people out there who want to pay a levy.
“The new structure will give everyone the opportunity to pay the levy or opt out of paying the levy.”
The process to reclaim levies, he said, was to get in touch with IFA HQ.