IFA president steps aside in pay crisis
Leaders of other unions and bodies refuse to reveal packages
President of the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) Eddie Downey has stepped back from the country's most powerful farm lobby group, as it moved to review pay at the organisation to try to staunch the haemorrhage of members.
IFA leaders have been flooded with angry calls from members threatening to leave the group after it emerged that former general secretary Pat Smith received a pay package of almost €1m over just two years.
Mr Downey, who has faced no-confidence motions in the wake of the revelations, apologised to members as he confirmed last night that he would "step back" to allow a review of remuneration take place. The IFA confirmed Mr Downey has a salary of €147,000 a year.
In a bid to rebuild confidence among members, the IFA has asked its former chief economist Con Lucey to review pay and transparency within the organisation. "They want me to review the recommendations I have made already and to make any other recommendations in the whole area of transparency," Mr Lucey told the Irish Independent.
Mr Downey's shock move comes as more than half of the country's major unions and representative bodies refused to publicly disclose the pay of their senior executives. Bodies representing nurses, hospital consultants, lawyers and rank-and-file gardaí all refused to clarify what their bosses earn.