Full statement issued on behalf of Pat Smith, November 26th, 2015
‘He has no intention of lowering himself and getting into a brawl with an organisation’
Former IFA general secretary Pat Smith. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Mr Smith said that Eddie Downey’s resignation as president of the IFA is a huge loss for Irish farmers and should not have been allowed happen.
Eddie, Mary and his family are reflective of all that is good in farming and Pat Smith wants to wish them well and assure IFA members that if Eddie Downey was let do his job as president the IFA would not be in this turmoil.
Mr Smith said his solicitors wrote to the executive council of IFA on Wednesday and he was very disappointed that those who so badly want transparency did not make members aware of the contents. A copy is now enclosed.
Less than 24 hours after standing down from the position of IFA general secretary, to allow the association the opportunity to move on with the real work agenda, bad decisions were made that were catastrophic for the association.
Running an organisation such as IFA is a very complex and demanding job, and Pat Smith is very proud of his contribution to building IFA into one of the most effective and powerful organisations in Europe.
As he left IFA last week, 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.
The severance package agreed with Pat Smith represented approximately 6-weeks’ redundancy pay for each year worked for the association and fulfilled on legal commitments he and other staff have in relation to pension shortfalls following the closure of the defined benefit scheme.
Pat Smith believes the deal done was fair in the context of his work and delivery for the association for more than 25 years and the reality of what happened.
However, he has no intention of lowering himself and getting into a brawl with an organisation that is currently in turmoil and incapable of dealing with any matter fairly.
Therefore Pat Smith is asking that IFA stand good to its deal and pay his €1 million severance to charity before Christmas in equal amounts to Self Help Africa and StVincent de Paul.
Again Pat Smith wants to especially thank the staff of IFA and ask that the membership row in behind the association and support its vital work.