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Tim O’Leary (right), of the Irish Farmers’ Association

This afternoon.

Tim O’Leary, who is running for president of the Irish Farmers’ Association, following last night’s resignation of Eddie Downey, spoke to Richard Crowley on RTÉ’s News At One earlier.

Mr Downey’s resignation came after it emerged the former IFA general secretary Pat Smith was to get a €2million severance package, on top of a €2.7million pension deal.

Mr O’Leary spoke to Mr Crowley about how the severance deal was struck during a meeting between Mr Smith and Mr Downey.

Grab a tay. Large mug.

Richard Crowley: “Why did Eddie Downey resign?”

Tim O’Leary: “He resigned because the pressure got too much as the controversy was going on, over the package or the deal done with Pat Smith. He felt himself he thought that he could step back and leave the review take place but he felt that things were just not going to work, as long as he remained as president and he took the very honourable decision to resign. And it’s a very difficult decision.”

Crowley: “Did he, but was the straw that broke the camel’s back the deal he did with Pat Smith in relation to his exit package?”

O’Leary: “That made his position very difficult, yes it did.”

Crowley: “Did you know anything about that deal?”

O’Leary: “The exit package?”

Crowley: “Yes.”

O’Leary:I was aware of the figure, after the fact.

Crowley: “Not during the negotiations?”

O’Leary: “No.”

Crowley: “Shouldn’t you?”

O’Leary: “No. Because under the present structures, I was not responsible for that.”

Crowley: “And what about the Treasurer or any other member of the executive board?”

O’Leary:My understanding is nobody else was aware of the deal until it was initially agreed. Now it wasn’t signed off completely because it needed more than one signature. It needed approval from a wider area but certainly…”

Crowley: “From who? From who else?”

O’Leary: “From, I would suspect that the Treasurer would have had to approve it and…”

Talk over each other

Crowley: “You don’t know that for a fact, as of now?”

O’Leary: “I would say yes he would, yes he would.”

Crowley: “OK, but he wasn’t involved in the negotiations?”

O’Leary: “No.”

Crowley: “Were there negotiations?”

O’Leary: “I’m told there were. I’m told there was a discussion about Pat Smith’s position in the organisation and that it had to finish.”

Crowley: “But once that was agreed. Then the business of negotiating his exit package got under way.”

O’Leary: “That’s correct.”

Crowley: “And in that negotiation there was, by the sounds of it, just two men, Eddie Downey, Pat Smith.”

O’Leary:That’s correct.”

Crowley: Is that not ludicrous?

O’Leary: “Well it wasn’t acceptable to the organisation.”

Crowley: “But did you know this was going on last week?”

O’Leary: “I was aware that the discussions were going on, that’s right.”

Crowley: “And you knew it was about money and the exit package for Pat Smith?”

O’Leary: “I would always assume that it would be because it would have to be.”

Crowley: “And did anybody raise an eyebrow about that?”

O’Leary: “Yes.”

Crowley: “And?”

O’Leary: “And it was not agreed.”

Crowley: “How do you mean it was not agreed?”

O’Leary: “By the general, it was not agreed outside of the room where the negotiations went on. It is not acceptable. It is not agreed.”

Crowley: “And at what point did you make that protest?”

O’Leary: “After that agreement.”

Crowley: “But not during?”

O’Leary:We weren’t aware of it during, we weren’t aware of the agreement during the agreement, if I sounds stupid on that now, but you understand what I mean. We have to wait until after the agreement…

Crowley:But did you know they were talking about a package and a package that was in the region of a million up front and €100,000 every year for ten years?

O’Leary: “No.”

Crowley: No. You didn’t know anything about that?

O’Leary:Yes, I knew they were talking about a package. No, I wasn’t aware of the figures.

Crowley: “And had you had heard those numbers, what would your reaction have been?”

O’Leary: “Don’t do it.”

Crowley: “Who else would have known about this? Or who else was in a position to cry foul as this was going on?”

O’Leary: “What was going on? The discussion or the discussion on the numbers?”

Crowley: “The discussion on the numbers and who was involved. Or the exclusion of others.”

O’Leary: “It was, there was no exclusion, it was done by Eddie Downey and Pat Smith.”

Crowley: “Yes but that excluded you and it excluded others on the executive council, didn’t it?”

O’Leary: “I didn’t have a role in that.”

Crowley: “Should you have a role though, that’s the point.”

O’Leary:I was governed by the rules of the organisation.”

Crowley: “And you’re prepared to go along with that. Who set up that system in the first instance by the way?”

O’Leary: “This is a, you know, we’re dealing with an organisation that’s 60 years old right? So we have structures that we inherited from a different time, from a different process and we are changing those. We had a review 10 years ago and we’re having another review now. So, you know, we have to move with the times…”

Later

Crowley: “Did Pat Smith resign? Or was he pushed?”

O’Leary: “Pat Smith resigned, the way I understand it.”

Crowley: “And so was it then open to the IFA or to Eddie Downey, specifically, to negotiate a better package from the point of view of the IFA and from your subscribers than the one that was eventually offered to Pat Smith?”

O’Leary: “I don’t know that, I wasn’t in the room with Eddie, so I don’t know what went on but I know that Eddie would do his best for the organisation. I think that it was probably a very difficult situation to be in. I think that, in hindsight, he probably shouldn’t have been in the room on his own, if you want me to say what I really think. But, you know…”

Crowley: “Did you have a legal advisor there?”

O’Leary: “He had legal advice, I think, yes.”

Crowley: “And Pat Smith, presumably?”

O’Leary: “I don’t know who was in the room. But I know that Eddie had legal advice.”

Crowley: “But the nub of it now is that the IFA is going to challenge this in the courts if you have to?”

O’Leary: “Yes. Well the nub of it now is that the IFA is not agreeing to any severance package.”

Crowley: “I beg your pardon, I missed that. Sorry.”

O’Leary: “The nub of it now is that the Irish Farmers’ Association is not agreeing to any severance package with Pat Smith.”

Crowley: “So, no signature was put on a piece of paper, on the night in question, when the deal was done between Pat Smith and Eddie Downey.”

O’Leary: “That’s not what I said. What I said is the nub of it now is the IFA is not agreeing with any severance package…”

Crowley: “I know but my question to you was: was…”

O’Leary: “It wasn’t enough to tie the deal down completely.”

Crowley: “Because, is there another signature missing?”

O’Leary: “Because there was more required. It needed legal, it needed legal oversight and stuff like that but there was more required, yeah. The treasurer would have had to have signed as well and he was not prepared to sign, in fairness.”

Listen back in full here

Tim O’Leary runs for IFA president (Irish Farmers Journal)

12 thoughts on “Timmeh!

  1. Mr. T.

    RTE are delighted with this.

    A scandal for a small section of the population, blown up to fill air time on the news so they can avoid things like NAMA corruption and homelessness.

    1. Anomanomanom

      It’s if interest to the whole country. It’s show what this association, organisations and union heads are all being paid. Why do you think that idiot in charge of the INMO won’t say what his pay is.

      1. classter

        I dunno. Farmers are a group are well known for being slow to lavish ‘gravy’ on those they employ. Ask any large animal vet.

  2. Truth in rhe News

    Tim O’Leary has not adressed the failure of the IFA a two weeks ago to disclose
    the pay scales by voting down the propsal by 20 votes with 7 for and 20 abstensions
    at a council meeting, there is also a serious legal problem in respect of levies collected from farmers without their consent, these were collected for the IFA by
    third parties which were corporate entites, what is the stance of the Director of
    Corporate Enforcement on this proceedure where money was taken without consent
    It is also an issue for the Gardai and the DPP in respect of the legalaties of what
    has taken place

  3. Jack Mehoff

    Utterly sickening what this individual and his cronies were and are getting paid, and the way these amounts of payments are ok’d and sanctioned.

Comments are closed.