Over €5m spent on two top posts in IFA over seven years

Pat Smith: pay details unveiled
Pat Smith: pay details unveiled
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

Farmers have expressed shock as it emerged the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) spent over €5m on the pay and pensions for the people in the two top posts over the past seven years.

The details of the pay packets of former general secretary Pat Smith and former presidents Padraig Walshe, John Bryan and Eddie Downey were unveiled as part of the wide-ranging report from Con Lucey that divulged pay at the farm lobby group since 2009.

Carlow IFA chairman Derek Deane, who will seek a nomination to run for president from his county, said he had been unaware former presidents received termination payments worth a year's remuneration.

"That is the very first I heard of it and I'm very surprised by it. They need to be compensated properly but it must be more transparent," he said. The report calls for the presidential pay to be brought back in line with the original aim to replace farm labour and all linked board fees to go to the association.

South Leinster regional chair James Murphy said the pay was "unacceptable". "No one wants anyone out of pocket - we want fair compensation for the post," he said, which takes into account the management of the president's farm. The report set out that former president Mr Walshe received a total package worth €181,250 in his final year.

His successor Mr Bryan received €630,880 between 2010 and 2013, including a salary of €107,500, €28,700 for farm relief and €28,000 for IFA Telecom fees in his last year. Mr Walshe and Mr Bryan also received the 'golden handshake' exit.

It shows Mr Downey, who was described as critical towards the report during the lengthy executive council meeting, received a salary of €147,500 and €8,500 to account for the car. They also received director board fees from FBD Holdings, currently set at €39,600.

It also points out Mr Smith received €3.4m since 2009, including €1m into a generous pension scheme.

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