Members of Kerry IFA demand to see local branch finances

Pic: Justin Farrelly.
Pic: Justin Farrelly.
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

A group of Kerry IFA members are calling for greater transparency in the county branch finances and staged a protest last week to highlight what they say is 'flouting' of the association's rules.

A group of Kerry farmers, including four county officers, took to the streets last week outside the IFA offices in Tralee over the "obscene" payout to Pat Smith and what it says is a refusal of IFA to open the accounts of Kerry IFA to an auditor.

According to Michael Kirby, under rule 71b, if five branches look to see the accounts of any county's books, they have the right to send in an inspector to look at the books.

"We looked in December at a meeting, but were told that the Chairman of the rules and privileges could not make a call on it but that the rules and privileges committee would meet and discuss it. We have yet to hear from this committee.

"We want to send in an auditor to inspect all the money that's that's coming into Kerry IFA, we want to see it all upfront."

He said that the treasurer's report was ratified at the recent AGM, but it only dealt with €15,000. "We want to see staff wages, remuneration of officers and their expenses."

At the December 2017 meeting of the Kerry IFA County Executive, a number of delegates made a request that the books and accounts of Kerry IFA be opened for inspection.

According to a spokesperson for IFA, at that meeting, the then National Treasurer of IFA Jer Bergin made it clear that there was no problem with this request and IFA was willing to open the books for inspection to any member of Kerry IFA.

However, according to Michael Kirby a meeting of the rules and privileges committee was to revert to the group to clarify if an auditor can inspect the books. "We want to send in an auditor and see the income and expenditure for the whole of Co Kerry and we want an auditor to look at the books."

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It's understood that a senior member of Kerry IFA has contact both IFA Director General Damien McDonald and National Treasurer Tim Cullinan to convene the rules and privileges committee of IFA about the issue.

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