IFA dismisses Smith’s offer to donate lump sum to charity as ‘spin’

The IFA has said that its former secretary general Pat Smith was attempting to “cover up” his demands for a €2m severance package by offering to donate half to charities.

Following Pat Smith’s statement on Thursday that he wished the IFA to donate his €1 million severance payment lump to Self Help Africa and the Society of St Vincent de Paul, the organisation has replied with a strongly-worded statement describing the suggestion as “total spin”.

The package agreed by former IFA president Eddied Downey includes another €1m to be paid to Smith over 10 years, but the association has described it as “unapproved” and intends to challenge it in court.

Following the IFA executive council meeting that extended from Wednesday into Thursday morning this week, the organisation said: “The IFA Council has rightly disowned this package.”

Acting president Tim O’Leary said on Thursday that Smith had been “fired” and had not resigned. “It is Pat Smith who didn’t want to submit to transparency over his salary. That is totally unacceptable,” the IFA added in its statement.


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IFA crisis: Eddie Downey pay package is actually closer to €200,000

The income of IFA President Eddie Downey, which was confirmed by IFA last night, of €147,000 is also topped up with directors’ fees and expenses.

IFA confirmed today to Agriland that the €147,000 salary just comprises his salary from the IFA.

It comes in the wake of turmoil in the IFA following the shock resignation of Pat Smith and the revelations around his salary. The position of IFA President sees Eddie Downey hold a seat on the boards of a number of high profile organisations, for which he receives financial remuneration.

Eddie Downey is in receipt of: (more…)

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Irish Farmers Journal breakfast news: Tuesday 24 November

In the news this morning: IFA turmoil continues, clarification on EID tagging, predictions on the price of whole milk powder and an upturn in Ireland’s live cattle trade is forecast by the UK.

Weather forecast

Mainly overcast on Tuesday with scattered outbreaks of rain or drizzle, most persistent in the north and west. However, it will be dry much of the time in the southeast. West to northwest winds will increase fresh to strong, making it feel cool; highest temperatures 8 to 11 degrees Celsius.

Staying mostly overcast on Tuesday night with further rain or drizzle at times in many places. West to northwest winds will remain fresh or locally strong overnight and temperatures will fall no lower than 7 to 10 degrees.

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Hogan plan to end ‘climate of fear’ on farms

A reduction in on-the-spot farm inspections and a revamp of the penalty system applied to EU payments are among reform measures unveiled yesterday by the Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.

“I believe that an appropriate balance can be struck between the need to protect public money, while, at the same time, applying a more proportionate system of penalties,” said Mr Hogan.

He also confirmed most of the changes would apply from next year. The new measures will reduce the level of on-the-spot checks, the commissioner explained.

Mr Hogan said the measures would allow Agriculture departments across the EU to target their inspections where they will have the greatest effect.


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Farmers ‘furious’ over €535,000 pay for IFA chief

The salaries of all executives in farm organisations, and all bodies that receive some form of government funding by direct subvention or levies, should be made public, Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has demanded.

Following the shock revelation that Pat Smith, former general secretary of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), was paid a total salary package of €445,000 in 2014 and €535,000 in 2013, Mr Fitzmaurice said the farming community “is furious and wants answers”.

“It’s coming to the stage now where we need to take any organisation or body that is getting government money or raising funds through membership to be out, open and transparent about remuneration,” he said.

“We saw it with former Rehab chief executive Angela Kerins and now we’re seeing it with Pat Smith. It’s actually grotesque to see that Barack Obama, the President of the United States and Taoiseach Enda Kenny weren’t earning as much as him,” said the Roscommon-South Leitrim TD.


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