Kerry IFA Presidential candidate Flor McCarthy has said there is no conflict of interest in meat factories collecting IFA levies.

Speaking on RTE’s Sean O’Rourke radio show this morning (Tuesday) McCarthy disagreed with the two other presidential candidates on whether the collection of levies on behalf of IFA by factories compromises the IFA’s ability to negotiate with the factories.

McCarty admitted that the collection of levies needs to be looked at, but said the collection of €3-4m through factories, co-ops and Plcs is a fair way of collecting money.

“It’s a fair way of collecting money as the bigger guy pays more and the smaller farmer pays less.
People feel it compromises negotiation I don’t agree. We took on the factories in 2000 and we kept going until people decided to stop. I feel strongly that it does not compromise.”

However, both Henry Burns and Joe Healy disagreed with McCarthy. Burns said perception is reality and the perception is that it does compromise IFA, so the IFA must come up with alternative ways of collecting funds.

“Originally, the levy was there to put in the Brussels office but if the membership is unhappy with it we’ll have to look at it.”

Joe Healy said the issue of factories collecting levies has been an issue with members for as long as he’s been going to IFA meetings.

“We have to look at a way of replacing the factory levy. Any time cattle prices are low which is fairly often, the farmers on the ground feel we are compromised and can’t stand outside gates.”

McCarthy said the IFA needs to look at other alternatives ways of collecting money to see if they will collect the money needed to fund the organisation.