IFA General Secretary under pressure over suggestions of €400,000-a-year remuneration

One of the most senior members of the IFA has called on the Association to make known to its Executive Council the salary of key management personnel including its General Secretary – Pat Smith.

In a letter written by well-known IFA figure Derek Deane, and available here, Deane has called on the IFA to review the terms of reference of its Audit Committee and to disclose the remuneration of key management personnel.

Deane held posts such as the National Livestock Chairman and Deputy President of the Association and is the current Carlow Chairman. He also ran for in the Presidential election of the Association in 2009.

He said the IFA must maintain the confidence of its large membership base through being transparent about senior personnel remuneration.

He said there the potential for the IFA and its senior staff remuneration packages to turn into a similar debacle as seen last year with the Rehab charity and said that it would be misleading farmer members of the IFA not to declare such remuneration package.

Deane’s key concerns
  • IFA Executive Council not fully informed of the events surrounding the resignation of Con Lucey
  • Neither General Secretary or President should be on new IFA remuneration committee
  • Need for more transparency in the organisation over the remuneration of key staff members including the IFA President and General Secretary
  • Concerns over a possible €400,000-a-year remuneration package of the General Secretary
  • Call for pay of General Secretary to be benchmarked against other leaders in the industry

The long-ranging letter states that the issue had been raised by several IFA members at public meetings around the country.

‘What is Pat Smith’s salary?’

Deane said rumours of a remuneration package in excess of €400,000-a-year, had been put to him, as the possible remuneration package of the IFA’s General Secretary Pat Smith and he questioned that if the figure was true how the IFA could stand over this.

“As a member of Executive Council I cannot, or can anyone, stand over this and as a member of Executive Council I demand an answer from either the President or the Treasurer: What is the Chief Executive’s salary and total payments for 2014? We are the governing body of the organisation and we are entitled to know this.

“I represented IFA on the Board of Teagasc, An Bord Bia and ICBF and my experience on all of those Boards was that transparency and factual information was paramount in the decision-making process.

“As a member of Executive Council for the past two years I have been constantly frustrated by not being given the relevant information on issues of concern and at our last Executive Council meeting I had to force the President to put this issue on the Agenda.” Also Read: Derek Deane's Letter to Executive Council

He also said that it would be more in line to benchmark the IFA General Secretary’s remuneration package with that of the Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture (Aidan O’Driscoll – €185,000), the Chief Executive of An Bord Bia (Aidan Cotter – €149,000) or the Director of Teagasc, (Gerry Boyle – €160,000).

IFA Reaction 

IFA President Eddie Downey said the issues raised by Deane have been discussed in detail and carefully considered by the Association.

He said that last week, the Executive Council overwhelmingly decided that a strengthened remuneration Committee would deal with the pay and conditions of the General Secretary and set the terms of the President going forward, and that IFA will continue to comply fully with GAAP accountancy rules and new reporting requirements on key personnel.

“All Council members should now accept collective responsibility and respect the decisions taken democratically by the Executive Council.”

Downey said IFA is an extremely well-run organisation, with very robust management structures and voluntary oversight of all expenditures, and our total focus is on tackling and delivering on the many serious issues facing farm families at this time.


Should the IFA declare the remuneration package of its General Secretary?

  • Yes - everyone who is a member of the IFA is entitled to know it (89%)
  • No - only the remuneration committee should know (6%)
  • Only the Executive Council should know it (5%)

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