Acting president says debate around IFA salary levels ‘a distraction’ from operations

The IFA’s acting president has described the ongoing debate around salary levels in the organisation as a distraction from its day-to-day operations.

Acting president says debate around IFA salary levels ‘a distraction’ from operations

Tim O’Leary also said that the IFA was learning from the pay scandal that rocked the body last month. At that point it emerged that its former general secretary Pat Smith received pay packages of €535,000 in 2013 and €445,000 in 2014.

The IFA will receive a review into its governance and remuneration procedures by its former chief economist Con Lucey, next Tuesday.

“The important thing is we are addressing weaknesses that were pointed out by Con Lucey. We’ve put that remuneration committee in place to look at the appropriate salary levels, to look at the whole salary package and we have said as well that we will publish that so that everybody will know what that salary package will be,” said Mr O’Leary.

“We are learning from what’s happened. We are committed to not allowing this to happen again. This is a huge distraction to the workings of the organisation.”

Ava May Ryan and Ciara loughran from St Francis Junior School Priorswood enjoy the animals at the official opening of the IFA Live Animal Crib at the Mansion House. Picture: Finbarr O’Rourke
Ava May Ryan and Ciara loughran from St Francis Junior School Priorswood enjoy the animals at the official opening of the IFA Live Animal Crib at the Mansion House. Picture: Finbarr O’Rourke

He was speaking after the unveiling of the live animal crib at Dublin’s Mansion House — a joint initiative between the IFA and Dublin City Council. When asked would the pay scandal lead to a decline in membership levels in the body, the acting IFA president answered that it would not.

“I wouldn’t think so. I think that farmers recognise that they need a strong, functioning Irish Farmers’ Association,” he said.

“They’re very annoyed that the process didn’t function properly, they see the weaknesses, but I think that we are working on those, we are fixing those, we have already addressed the employment of the general secretary and how that’s done.”

Left to right: Libby O Reilly, 4, with Amelia Lilly Fullham, 4, and Janden Fox, 3, prepare to sing at the 21st IFA Live Animal Crib Opening Mansion House Dublin. The pupils were from St Joseph’s Nursery, Maryland, Dublin 8. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie
Left to right: Libby O Reilly, 4, with Amelia Lilly Fullham, 4, and Janden Fox, 3, prepare to sing at the 21st IFA Live Animal Crib Opening Mansion House Dublin. The pupils were from St Joseph’s Nursery, Maryland, Dublin 8. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Something else which he said is under review is the so-called factory levy, which is a tariff collected on all farm sales to co-ops, processors, marts and merchants. It works out at farmers giving over 15c per €100 in sales.

Sources suggest that the European Involvement Fund levy as it is officially called, generates between one third and a half of the IFA’s annual income. The IFA’s latest annual report states an income of €12.9m for 2014.

Many farmers are unaware they are paying the levy as it is automatically deducted from their pay cheques, but it is possible to opt out from paying it..

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