Farm Ireland

Tuesday 12 December 2017

IFA opens nominations for next president following recent pay controversy

Eddie Downey
Eddie Downey
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

THE Irish Farmers’ Association has opened the nominations for the next president of the farming body following its recent pay controversy.

Members will be asked to vote on the next person to represent farmers after former president Eddie Downey tendered his resignation.

All nominations must be returned to the IFA by 5pm on Wednesday, January 6.

Under IFA rules an election must take place within two months.

However, a decision was taken to alter the rules to give the national council of the IFA “greater flexibility on the timing of an election”. The change to the rules, which requires 28 days’ notice, will see the rules changed to allow the council take a majority vote on the date to hold the election.

The council will meet in January to vote on the proposed rule change.

The deputy IFA president, Cork dairy farmer Tim O’Leary, has already declared his candidacy, while Carlow IFA chair Derek Dean who called for answers and transparency over the pay of Mr Smith earlier this month has stated he will speak to friends and IFA members in the county before considering his position.

The election follows Mr Downey stepping down as president of the IFA as it had emerged that former general secretary Pat Smith received a €2m ‘golden handshake’ exit deal.

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A meeting of the IFA’s national executive had been told that Mr Smith’s €2m package had been agreed between Mr Downey and Mr Smith as the latter resigned.

Mr Downey has since said he had approval, and did not act on his own, when reaching the controversial exit package.

Mr Smith has called for €1m of the package to be donated to charity before Christmas. However, the IFA has warned it will take legal action to prevent payment of the severance package.

Mr Smith received €535,000 in 2013, including a €150,000 pension contribution, a €60,000 bonus and a company car. 

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