‘We want transparency’ – IFA members say they are ‘entitled to know’ General Secretary’s pay

Cavan IFA has called for ‘clarity’ and ‘transparency’ on the IFA General Secretary’s remuneration package, following an emergency meeting on Saturday night.

Over 60 branch officers attended the meeting, with less than 24 hours’ notice, and it was unanimously agreed at the meeting that a resolution would be put forward to IFA headquarters on the issue of Pat Smith’s remuneration package.

According to those at the meeting there was a lot of dissatisfaction from the floor, both at the lack of clarity and transparency around the General Secretary’s salary and the IFA’s official reaction to Derek Deane’s letter.

The Cavan resolution is calling for the General Secretary to disclose his total remuneration package, including anything from all IFA subsidiaries and affiliations. The resolution will also ask for the remuneration package to be clarified to all IFA members.

“Transparency was a word that was used an awful lot at the meeting,” one IFA branch officer told Agriland.

He also said that while two or three individuals thought the resolution should not go ahead, they did not oppose it and it was unanimously agreed on the night to put the resolution forward to IFA HQ.

Another attendee at the meeting in Cavan on Saturday night told Agriland that the meeting was driven from the floor, not by the chairman, and the feeling on the floor was strong.

“There was outrage at the start. The main issue is the lack of clarity and there was outrage at the reply from Farm Centre to the Derek Deane letter.”

The Cavan resolution comes after West Cork IFA called for the IFA Executive Council to be fully informed of the General Secretary’s remuneration package.

West Cork IFA passed a motion calling for greater transparency at a meeting last week. Its Chairman Richard Connell said that the feeling on the floor at the meeting was that “members are entitled to know” the renumeration package of the General Secretary.

A number of other counties are holding their executive meetings tonight, including Cork Central, Kildare and Carlow, where the issue is expected to feature on the agenda.

IFA Reaction

IFA President Eddie Downey said the issue of the Remuneration Committee and the General Secretary’s pay has been discussed in detail and carefully considered by our Association’s elected Executive Council members.

“The Council, which is the governing body of the Association, overwhelmingly decided that a strengthened Remuneration Committee would deal with the pay and conditions of the General Secretary and set the terms for the President.

“A motion to publish the General Secretary’s pay was strongly rejected by Council, which carefully considered the case put forward.”

He said that the strengthened Remuneration Committee will meet in the next few weeks and will take on board all views from our members before reporting back to Council as it is required to do.

He said resolutions relating to this and other issues of concern to counties will be on the agenda as the normal part of the business of the next Executive Council meeting.

Eddie Downey said IFA is an extremely well-run organisation with very robust management structures and voluntary officers’ oversight of all expenditures.

“We have a proud record of delivery on behalf of farmers. Our total focus continues to be on tackling 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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