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Tuesday 18 September 2018

IFA faces new questions over pay after refusing to clarify president's salary

Unclear whether Healy pockets another €62,000 in directors' fees

Joe Healy called for ‘greater transparency’ on election
Joe Healy called for ‘greater transparency’ on election
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) is facing major questions over its president's salary two years after a row over pay rocked the organisation.

The IFA has refused to clarify whether its president's salary of €120,000 includes directors' fees - or whether Joe Healy is in receipt of another €62,000.

The lack of clarity comes two years after Mr Healy swept to power following the resignation of the previous president and general secretary.

He is legally entitled to receive directors' fees - which this year will add up to around €62,000 for the two board positions he holds.

But the IFA is now refusing to detail whether directors' fees its president has received have made up part of Mr Healy's €120,000 annual salary or are surplus to it.

The IFA refused to give a breakdown of its president's full remuneration package or clarify whether Mr Healy has transferred the directors' fees he has received to date onto the IFA.

The IFA would only confirm that Mr Healy is directly paid directors' fees for the two boards he sits on.

A spokesman for the IFA said arrangements were in place to reconcile the president's external fees with his IFA payment so that his total remuneration is in line with the figure agreed by National Council in November 2016.

However, it refused to detail how long the arrangements have been in place and whether directors' fees he has received since he became president in April 2016 has since been paid into IFA funds, or whether his salary has been reduced to reflect the additional payments he has received.

IFA accounts for 2016-2017 show that Mr Healy was paid a salary of €111,846 for his first year as the association's president, after he took up the post in late April 2016, just shy of a full year's salary.

However, Mr Healy was also entitled to about €25,000 from FBD in 2017, for his role as a non-executive director after joining in August that year. A full year in FBD fees amounts to €50,000.

He was also entitled to €7,625 in 2016 from Bord Bia and €11,970 for 2017 and 2018 for this role.

The lack of clarity about the directors' fees follows a report by former IFA chief economist Con Lucey which recommended that the president's remuneration would not include directors' fees.

Mr Healy won the IFA presidential election in April 2016 after weeks of debates around the country, where he presented himself as a candidate untainted by the pay controversy that had embroiled the farming organisation over the previous months.

He said in the run-up to the election about the association's accounts that "if members want to see and find out more information they are perfectly entitled to and a process should be in place to do this". He also said there was a need for "greater transparency" in the organisation and the president should not be setting his own salary.

Irish Independent

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