Eddie Downey meets IFA to ‘resolve outstanding issues’

AgriLand can confirm that “constructive” talks were held between the board of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and its former president Eddie Downey this week.

It is believed that the meeting took place on Tuesday night (March 20) in Dublin – the night before the IFA held its National Council meeting.

It is understood that a number of IFA board members attended the meeting including: IFA president Joe Healy; director general Damian McDonald; and treasurer Tim Cullinan.

Sources have said that the meeting focused on “resolving outstanding issues” and “putting things in context” in terms of the handling of the much-publicised IFA pay controversy in November 2015.

It is also understood that “preliminary plans” have also been made for a follow-up meeting between both Downey and the IFA National Council at the Irish Farm Centre in Dublin, to be potentially held next Tuesday (March 27).

A number of sources confirmed that the meeting went well and that Downey wants what’s best for the organisation going forward.

At the end of last month, it emerged that Downey had asked for an invitation to speak – in camera – at the farm body’s national council meeting on Thursday, March 1; this was the meeting that was subsequently postponed due to the snow.

He publicly stated the reasoning behind this appeal at the Meath IFA annual general meeting in Navan on Monday, February 26.

A source close to Downey previously told AgriLand that the Slane-based farmer wanted to “set the record straight” on the timeline, and events, that resulted in his resignation from the association in November 2015.

The source said that, after two years, Downey wants to let IFA members – and the general public – know exactly what happened, how negotiations were handled and to identify the main players involved.

“The version that is out there is completely wrong. Nobody objected to signing the severance package; everybody encouraged it; that’s the story Downey wants to tell,” the source claimed.