Ornua Chairman Aaron Forde has said the remuneration of senior people in Ornua has been sensationalised.

He was speaking on Ocean FM this week, in light of Ornua publishing figures which show that it paid out €9.2m to its directors over the past two years.

Forde said it was important to attract the best talent into Ornua and Aurvio and it was necessary that  remuneration was adequate. He also said there are controls in place and that he was confident the remuneration was done appropriately.

“Ornua employs 3,000 people in 110 markets and the remuneration has been sensationalisation. It’s set by a remuneration committee and the board oversees it.” However, he did not give any further detail around the level of individual pay.

Executive pay in 2014 stood at €4.8m and decreased to €4.4m in 2015, while the 14 directors on the board of the company received €509,000 last year between them.

Jackie Cahill, the newly-lected TD for Fianna Fail in Tipperary who was a member of the board until 2014 when he was President of the ICMSA, has said full transparency was necessary from the board.

He said the rate of pay that Ornua’s top executives are being paid is “out-of-bounds”.

“You can’t explain [this level of pay] to a farmer when he’s losing his tonsils… for farmers on the ground it’s hard to accept.”

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice said that “dairy farmers who are struggling to make ends meet are bewildered and outraged by news of the huge pay packages being enjoyed by the top nine executives”.

Fitzmaurice has said that it is also significant that yesterday’s figures did not specify what each director was paid which is unacceptable to tens of thousands of farmers who contribute to the running of Ornua.