'We are committed to restoring the faith and trust of our members'
An open letter from the IFA
Farmers are extremely annoyed. They have every right to be. They feel let down. The outdated governance of our Association surrounding the pay for the general secretary and president has let us all down. For that, we are truly sorry. We wish to apologise unreservedly to our fellow farmers.
We want to make amends and regain your trust. We are determined to introduce the necessary changes to move forward with robust structures.
Farmers expect IFA to work for them. IFA has worked hard for farmers for the last 60 years and we have won many battles. We have to get back there and we want you with us for the current battles and those of the future. We know that farmers want a strong IFA working for them.
When Con Lucey resigned from the Audit Committee in August 2014 alleging 'unacceptable interference by the general secretary in the work of the committee', as national officers, we acted decisively.
In his letters, Con made it clear that the initial work of the Audit Committee had not found 'any financial irregularity in IFA'. At no stage were we informed of the scale of the general's secretary pay package.
In line with the Lucey recommendations, we insisted that a fully-qualified auditor was appointed to chair a fit-for-purpose IFA Audit Committee, which excluded the general secretary. The committee proceeded to do its work.
We were working within the rules of the association, which posed some difficulties that may not be fully understood. By its very nature, this type of work was confidential.
We were also dealing with many important national farming issues at that time, including the beef price crisis, which is IFA's core activity.