Fine Gael TDs urge IFA to be transparent on salary levels

Andrew Doyle: Pat Smith salary exceeded what could be considered ‘fair and reasonable’

An IFA-sponsored protest (above). Carlow-Kilkenny deputy Pat Deering said the association  did a lot of very good work and had a very good reputation for lobbying and being disciplined. “It’s important that they are strong and united representing the farmers, which they are not at the moment,” he said. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

An IFA-sponsored protest (above). Carlow-Kilkenny deputy Pat Deering said the association did a lot of very good work and had a very good reputation for lobbying and being disciplined. “It’s important that they are strong and united representing the farmers, which they are not at the moment,” he said. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Fine Gael TDs have called on the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) to be transparent as the pay controversy surrounding the organisation continues.

Carlow-Kilkenny deputy Pat Deering said it was important for people to know about salary levels within the organisation, after it emerged that former general secretary Pat Smith was paid €445,000 last year and €535,000 in 2013.

“I would be of the opinion that there are a lot of people within the IFA that are very well paid - and it’s important that people know about it. They need to get themselves sorted out and be transparent about everything,” Mr Deering said.

He said the IFA did a lot of very good work and had a very good reputation for lobbying and being disciplined. “It’s important that they are strong and united representing the farmers, which they are not at the moment,” he said.

Withdrawing membership

Mr Deering said farmers were withdrawing their membership and the IFA’s cash flow could be cut back.

His party colleague Andrew Doyle, who represents Wicklow, said Mr Smith’s salary figures had exceeded what could be considered “fair and reasonable”, and everyone had been taken aback by the amounts disclosed.

“It does need to be resolved very quickly and transparently. It’s the IFA’s issue. It’s not something for politicians to engage directly in, although we may have opinions and interests.” However, he said the IFA was not in receipt of State funding and was not a charity.

Salaries requested

Various other organisations were asked by The Irish Times on Monday to disclose salaries of senior personnel.

A spokesman for Siptu confirmed €108,384 was the salary of general president Jack O’Connor. Siptu’s vice-president Gene Mealy and general secretary Joe O’Flynn were paid the same amount, he said.

For the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association (INMA), a spokeswoman said the organisation had no comment to make on staff salaries.

A Law Society spokeswoman said: “Details of the remuneration of individual staff members are not provided so that the Law Society may comply with its contractual and statutory obligations to its employees.”

A spokesman for Ibec said it did not disclose details of staff remuneration.