IFA President Eddie Downey has resigned from his post as head of the Association tonight, as the crisis in Farm Centre deepens.

The move comes after it was revealed at the extraordinary Executive Council meeting in Dublin heard that Downey had signed off an exit package with former General Secretary Pat Smith last week.

It is believed that only Eddie Downey signed off on the exit package with Smith. The exit package – worth €2m – is now being challenged by the IFA.

When details of it were discussed at today’s meeting, the Executive Council voted to take legal action to challenge Smith’s package.

Smith’s exit package was confirmed to be a €1m lump sum and €100,000 every year for 10 years.

It is the latest revelation in the ongoing discussions in Bluebell tonight.

Earlier today, the Executive Committee ratified the review process by Con Lucey and is inviting its members to make submissions to the review.

IFA Deputy President Tim O’Leary said he was pleased to announce that the former IFA Chief Economist Con Lucey has agreed to conduct a thorough review of the structures in the Association around corporate governance and related matters, including issues around remuneration and will report to the Executive Council on Tuesday, December 15.

Con Lucey said he looked forward to working with the IFA in this role as part of the process of rebuilding the trust and confidence of members in the Association. The Executive Council unanimously welcomed Con Lucey’s involvement as an important step forward in re-building the trust of farmers.

Read Eddie Downey’s full letter of resignation here

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