In an official statement from the IFA, released this evening in Portlaoise, the IFA President Eddie Downey has said the Executive Council had a full debate on the future of IFA and what needs to change.

The governing body of the Association re-affirmed that a transparent and democratic process, the trust of our farmer members and strong leadership in representing farmers and the agricultural sector are key principles of the IFA.

Referring to recent events, Eddie Downey confirmed that he disclosed to Council members the details of the full remuneration package, including pension, of former General Secretary Pat Smith. In 2014, Pat Smith’s total package was €445,000 and in 2013 his total package was €535,000.

Downey said, “This was not sustainable and unacceptable. Accordingly, we have dealt with it. Going forward, the remuneration package of the IFA General Secretary will be disclosed and will be a matter of public record in the annual accounts”.

The IFA Executive Council ratified Bryan Barry as acting General Secretary and Chief Executive of the Association.

The IFA President confirmed that the Executive Council of the organisation has established a strengthened Remuneration Committee that is in line with best corporate governance practice.

Eddie Downey confirmed that executive salaries within the organisation are comparable and in line with those applying in Government departments and State agencies, that IFA deals with on a regular basis.

Eddie Downey said today’s Council meeting gave him a strong mandate to move forward and deal with the challenges facing farmers on a range of issues. He said IFA will be finalising its General Election manifesto in the coming weeks and this will be presented to political parties and independents in the run-up to the election in the spring.

“IFA has important business to attend to on behalf of our farmer members and we will be devoting our resources and efforts to achieving the best outcome for farmers.  This now provides us with the opportunity to move forward in the best interests of the organisation and the membership, which is the cornerstone of the IFA.”