Outsider to head up new IFA audit committee
The continuing controversy over the resignation of Con Lucey as chairman of the IFA's audit committee looks set to dominate today's national council meeting in Bluebell.
The IFA leadership is likely to face questions from county chairman over why exactly Mr Lucey resigned and what led to his decision. In his letter of resignation to the IFA president Eddie Downey, Mr Lucey alleged there was "unacceptable interference" in the committee by IFA general secretary Pat Smith.
Both the IFA and Mr Smith were asked by the Farming Independent to respond to Mr Lucey's assertion. A statement received from the farm body claimed that poor communication between Mr Smith and Mr Lucey led to "misunderstandings". No reply was received from Mr Smith personally as we went to press.
"The IFA president Eddie Downey said that he has carefully looked into this matter and that the general secretary's [Pat Smith's] request to defer a meeting of the new audit committee was solely for procedural reasons," the IFA statement said.
"The general secretary accepts that a lack of direct communications between Con Lucey and himself did lead to misunderstandings which were unhelpful," it added.
The IFA statement went on to point out that Mr Smith, along with the former president, John Bryan, and national treasurer, JJ Kavanagh, was instrumental in setting up this new audit committee last year.
However, Mr Lucey's decision to resign as chairman of the three-man audit committee has sparked serious unease among the upper echelons of the IFA.
A stalwart of the association, Mr Lucey served as chief economist of the IFA for 29 years and worked with the farmer body for close to 35 years.