Former IFA general secretary earned €535k in 2013

* Former general secretary earned €535k
* Pat Smith resigned from post this week
* Farm leaders gather today for meeting
* Pay package included basic pay, pension and bonus

Pat Smith has stepped down from his position as general secretary of the IFA
Pat Smith has stepped down from his position as general secretary of the IFA
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

THE SALARY package of the former general secretary of the Irish Farmers’ Association stood at €535,000 in 2013 a meeting of the leaders of the farm lobby group has heard.

The executive council meeting was held in Portlaoise after Pat Smith resigned from the post amid concerns over top level salaries at the body.

The farm leaders gathered from around the country heard that Mr Smith had received a salary package of €535,000 in 2013, which included his basic pay, pension and bonus.

Mr Smith is also understood to have received monies from the membership service IFA Telecom that he was instrumental in setting up. The meeting heard the pay package for 2014 was over €400,000.

With groups of farmers around the country calling for transparency, the 85,000-strong group had refused to confirm the pay package in recent weeks after former IFA deputy president Derek Deane raised concerns over the pay and called for “transparency” in the organisation.

Mr Smith, who was effectively the chief executive of the association, said the lobby group was “bigger than any one person” as he stepped down from the organisation yesterday after 25-years in key roles.

“I have decided to put the best interests of the association to the fore,” said Mr Smith. “It has been a great honour and privilege to work with IFA for the past 25 years,” he said, as he thanked the organisation and the staff for their commitment during his time there.

In addition to playing key roles in setting up some lucrative earnings for the farm body such as the IFA Telecoms branch which offers phone deals for members, Mr Smith had also dealt with the fraught reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

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The deputy general secretary Bryan Barry will taking on the acting role in the farm group.

Last year former IFA chief economist Con Lucey raised issues about accountability on senior salary scales as he stepped down from the IFA audit committee.

A survey carried out by the Farming Independent at the National Ploughing Championships found 86pc of 1,000 farmers surveyed wanted transparency on salaries and expenses of leaders and officers in farm organisations. 

Just 11pc replied ‘no’, while a small number were undecided. 

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