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IFA to end stand-off and go back into FBD boardroom


IFA President, Joe Healy

IFA President, Joe Healy

IFA President, Joe Healy

The IFA has not had an official representative on the board of FBD since almost a year, but that looks set to change in the coming weeks.

Established in the 1960s by farmers, FBD has traditionally offered the role of non-executive director to the sitting IFA president.

However, an ongoing stand-off between the insurance firm and IFA has left the farming body without any official representation on the board since April 2016.

But, now it seems that the deadlock over the IFA representative on the board of FBD could end soon, almost 12 months after former president Eddie Downey stepped down from the role.

Mr Downey resigned as president of IFA in November 2015, following a scandal over pay levels at the top of the organisation, and did not seek to be re-appointed to the board of FBD in April 2016.

Following his election as IFA president that same month, Joe Healy was invited by FBD to join its board, an appointment that is subject to approval by the Central Bank of Ireland. But he did not take up the offer.

Mr Healy said he would not be taking up the post due to his busy workload as the new president and suggested Eddie Downey would be an ideal candidate to represent IFA. Mr Healy then attempted to nominate the IFA former president to the post, which pays €39,000 a year.

"We feel that the former president, who has met farmers all around the country, would be well aware of all the issues," Mr Healy said.

Mr Downey too was eager to be appointed. "I know I could do a good job there. The farmer's voice on FBD needs to be heard very, very loudly and I don't think it's being heard now," he said.

However, FBD stuck to its guns that its offer was to the current IFA president, and that there is no provision for IFA to nominate someone of its choosing to the role.

Now, after almost 12 months of the post remaining vacant, Mr Healy looks set to take up the role.

The IFA confirmed that at this week's meeting of the IFA executive council it was agreed that Joe Healy would engage with FBD in relation to taking up a position as Director on the Board of FBD Holdings, subject to all relevant approvals.

Irish Independent