Pat Smith says €2m deal was fair - but wants charities to get half the cash
IFA warns it will fight severance claim in the courts
Former general secretary of the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) Pat Smith said he believes a "fair" deal was done over his €2m severance package, as he asked the lobby group to pay €1m of it to charity before Christmas.
Mr Smith, who resigned after 25 years with the organisation amid a controversy over pay, said he has "no intention of lowering" himself and getting into a "brawl" with an organisation in turmoil.
The latest development is expected to enrage grassroots members of the country's most powerful lobby group, who have continued to express anger since it emerged former president Eddie Downey had agreed a €2m severance package with Mr Smith.
However, the IFA stated that Mr Smith had "demanded" the €2m exit package and it had "rightly disowned" this package. "This is a total spin. Pat Smith demanded €2m. He is trying to cover it up," the farm body stated.
The lobby group confirmed it was standing over a vote taken at the emergency executive council meeting to take legal action over the package, which included €1m upfront and €100,000 a year for 10 years.
"We will fight his severance claim all the way," it stated, as it indicated he will have to sue to get any potential monies.
Mr Smith, who spoke out last night in a statement from his solicitors, said when he joined the organisation it had a €3.3m deficit from the defined pension liability - but he left the association with its highest paid-up membership ever and reserves of €19m.
He called for the IFA to "stand good to its deal" and pay his €1m severance to charity before Christmas in equal amounts to Self Help Africa and St Vincent de Paul.