Pat Smith launches second High Court case against IFA

The former General Secretary of the IFA Pat Smith has initiated a second High Court action against the IFA.

Smith initiated defamation proceedings through his solicitor on Friday, April 15, with the High Court. This is the second High Court case Smith has started against the IFA since his departure from the Association in November.

On December 11, 2015, Smith lodged a High Court case against his former employers in relation to his exit package after the IFA said it was refusing to pay out.

On November 19, Pat Smith resigned as IFA General Secretary after the IFA came under pressure to reveal his salary. It was later revealed that Smith was paid over €540,000 in 2013 and over €450,000 in 2014 and 2015.

Former IFA President Eddie Downey signed a €2m exit package with Smith, which would see Smith receive €1m initially and then 10 payments of €100,000 per year for 10 years.

However, after the details of the exit package were revealed to IFA National Council, at an emergency meeting on November 25, Eddie Downey resigned as President and the IFA announced that it would challenge Smith’s exit package.

The former Deputy President of the IFA Tim O’Leary late said Smith was “in effect fired” and the National Council was disowning Smith’s exit package.

Smith has one year from when he started his High Court proceedings on December 11, 2015, to serve papers in relation to the case and no date has been set for it either case.

Pat Smith worked for IFA for over 25 years in his various roles and took over as General Secretary from Michael Berkery in 2009.

The Con Lucey report, which was published by IFA on December 15, 2015, detailed the remuneration of the IFA General Secretary from 2009. Smith is noted as saying in the report that his remuneration, excluding pension, in 2014 and 2015 was “very significantly less than the salary and bonus paid to his predecessor” in 2007 and 2008.

Smith said at the time that when he left IFA the Association had its highest paid up membership ever and every committee was working hard and delivering real results on the issues of the day.

He also said that the severence package agreed represented approximately six weeks redundancy pay for each year worked for the Association and fulfilled on legal committments he and other staff have in relation to pension shortfalls following the closure of the Defined Benefit scheme.