No notable uptake in IFA early retirement scheme

There has been no notable uptake from staff at the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) for its voluntary early retirement scheme, AgriLand understands.

The scheme, which opened in February of this year, closed for applications last month. It is, as yet, unclear where the scheme will go from here, sources say.

It is also understood that a small number of the IFA’s senior management team were excluded from the scheme – which had been made available to staff aged between 50 and 63 years.

It is understood that the package on the table offered a total of three weeks’ pay for every year of service within the farm lobby group – with a minimum tenure set at one and a half years.

The move emerged at a time when the organisation – which has approximately 72,000 members – appears to be positioning itself for a number of reforms in a bid to balance and sustain the association’s finances and membership going forward.

The IFA has declined to comment on the matter.

Top 15 staff

According to the IFA’s latest financial accounts for the year ended March 31, 2019, the association recorded a deficit for the year at €933,307.

Its income for 2019 was reported at €15,990,214; total expenditure for the 12-month period was recorded as €16,231,899.

An analysis of the group’s expenditure shows that total staff costs amounted to €5,349,625.

Salaries and payments paid to key management personnel are set out as follows:
  • Director general: €185,350 (salary); €27,802 (employer pension contribution);
  • Executive management team: €412,639 (salary); €105,919 (employer pension contribution);
  • National Council: €246,150 (labour replacement paid in financial year), less €61,968 (effect of accrual release), resulting in a net amount of €184,182;
  • President: €57,896* (‘gross agreed salary’).

* In 2018, the president’s ‘gross agreed salary’ was reported as €120,000, less director’s fees from outside bodies of €58,518. This resulted in a net cost to the IFA of €61,482.

In the 2019 accounts – the subject of this article – there is no reference to ‘director’s fees from outside bodies’. One might reasonably assume that the president still receives such additional income, albeit not referenced in these accounts.

Meanwhile, the IFA’s most recent financial report also states that the average remuneration for the top 15 staff after the executive management was: €99,047 (salary); plus €23,327 (employer pension contribution).

Total staff costs for 2019 – across the IFA – were €5,349,625.