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Saturday 21 April 2018

New IFA boss to review of costs and salaries amid income drop

New IFA director general, Damian McDonald
New IFA director general, Damian McDonald

Martin Ryan

A root-and-branch review of all IFA expenditure is being undertaken as the association struggles to achieve further cost savings to match the downturn in income.

Munster chairman John Coughlan told IFA members in the province that there was concern that the 8pc reduction in costs in IFA, which has been achieved to date, was not sufficient to match the drop in income from levies and membership.

He confirmed that a review of all salaries being paid within IFA would be conducted by the association's new director general, Damian McDonald.

Mr Coughlan defended the organisation against criticism that the commitment to "full transparency" on staff salaries, which had been given during the presidential election campaign, had not been delivered upon.

"The organisation has gone beyond what is legally required in disclosure, and as far as we can legally go to give details on staff salaries and payments to the voluntary officers of the association," the Munster chairman told the Limerick IFA executive last week.

The IFA is committed to publishing the salaries for president, deputy president, director general, and national officers and national council members.

An aggregate sum for the salaries of the next three most senior members of staff - secretary, director of finance and director of organisation - and an aggregate of the salaries paid to the next 15 highest paid staff will also be published.

"That is as far as we are legally entitled to go on disclosure and it will be very easy for any member to see what the salary scale within the organisation is," Mr Coughlan added.

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Levies

A review of the IFA's funding model last year concluded that the association's levy system, which costs farmers 15c per €100 of output, should be retained.

However, Mr Coughlan said further changes in how the levy is operated may be necessary.

"We may have to canvass the individual membership to sign up to the levies," he said.

It is understood that most dairy producers have been required by their milk processors to sign consent for the levy to be deducted. However, a similar process has not been applied in the livestock sector.

On executive appointments, he said that the process of appointing an executive secretary will take place over the coming months.

It is envisaged that the executive secretary will also have other duties within the organisation.

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