Tag Archives: IFA

This afternoon.

Swords. north county Dublin.

Members of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) take part in a nationwide rally to highlight the ‘importance of commercial farming to the rural economy’.

It was the first large scale demonstration by IFA since the pandemic began, as farmers gathered in county towns across the country to warn against the dangers in the current CAP proposals and the Climate Action Bill.

Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews

Outside Musgraves’ central distribution centre in Kilcock, Co Kildare this morning

This morning.

Members of the Irish Farmers’ Association began to hold their fourth protest over beef prices at 7.00am, outside Musgraves’ central distribution centre in Kilcock, Co Kildare.

Musgraves owns Centra and SuperValu.

Sylvester Phelan, of Agriland, reports:

Beef farmers should not accept the current beef price on offer from the factories and demand a lot more, IFA president Joe Healy said at the picket.

Once again, the protest will last 12 hours and follows similar action at the Tesco central distribution centre in Dublin yesterday and the Aldi and Lidl CDCs last week.

IFA targets Musgraves central distribution centre in latest blockade (Agriland)

Pics: IFA and Briefne O’Brien

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 15.37.45

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…”


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)



From left: Pat O’Flaherty, Eddie Downey, IFA president and deputy IFA president Tim O’Leary

Tim O’Leary, acting President of the Irish Farmers’ Association, spoke with Dr Gavin Jennings on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland earlier today.

It follows reports that the IFA’s president Eddie Downey is to “step back from his role” as the organisation’s chief economist Con Lucey reviews the governance structures within the IFA.

Last week, the IFA’s former general secretary Pat Smith resigned after it emerged he received a salary worth €445,000 in 2014 and €535,000 in 2013.

From the interview this morning…

Tim O’Leary: “The best way to deal with this is through the process we put in place with the chief economist to look at it, to put a proper perspective on all these things. And to give him that space, this is, I’m reiterating, to give him that space, Eddie felt it was best to step back and not be involved in the process. We have a renumeration committee of which it is a part so that would be the body, dealing with the salary and that needs space to do this properly.”

Dr Gavin Jennings: “Why did Pat Smith resign?”

O’Leary: “Same issue, the salary.”

Jennings: “He resigned over his own salary?”

O’Leary: “The size of it. The scale of it, the difficulties…pardon?”

Jennings: “Or the revelation of it?”

O’Leary: “He resigned before it was revealed. So that was the issue that was bothering farmers. It was becoming a huge issue and it was getting in the way of us doing our business.”

Jennings: “But he wasn’t resigning over the size of his salary, he was resigning because people found out about the size of his salary.”

O’Leary: “He was..no. The salary was not revealed before he resigned. It was the size of it and it was the concern over the size of it, or the potential size of it. Remember what was happening. There were leaks and there was speculation and there was talk about what was the size of the salary and we had to, or he had to move to deal with this. And it is distracting us from the work of the organisation. I accept completely that this is important stuff now, to be dealt with. And we’re going to deal with this and we’re going to work through it.”

Jennings: “Who signed off? Who agreed to pay the IFA general secretary over half a million euro in 2013? And just below that last year?”

O’Leary: “The general secretary of the Irish Farmers’ Association was hired by the organisation and a package was agreed with him. The package at that time would have been agreed by the president and the treasurer and I think that was in 2009. And in subsequent years, that salary would have been reviewed on an annual basis and signed off by the president, the treasurer…”

Jennings: “And was it signed off in…”

O’Leary: “That was signed off in 2013 by the then president, the then treasurer. Now in 2014, we received a letter from Con Lucey expressing concerns about the procedures and the structures in place which we took on board and that salary was not signed off in 2014.”

Jennings: “Why not?”

O’Leary: “Because we wanted to strengthen the oversight of the bonuses and the salary going forward. So until that was done, we were not prepared to do that. This is accountability if you want to call it that or this is the way we felt we had to work here.”

Jennings: “Will Pat Smith get a payoff? A severance package?”

O’Leary: “There is very strong law here to govern and protect employees and we’re bound by that law. It’s in the process at the moment and we’re having some difficulties with that. But I think this is a confidential process…”

Jennings: “What difficulties?”

O’Leary: “No this is a confidential process that has to be worked through now and we have to, in fairness, to everybody, we have to work through this and when we have arrived at a settlement it will be made known.”

Jennings: “Will you tell members what his payoff will be?”

O’Leary: “It will be made known to everybody, yes. It will be published. It will be published in the general council.”

Jennings: “When did you first learn, as an IFA member, what your general secretary was earning?”

O’Leary: “When we heard, when we decided that we were going to reveal this or we were going to explain this to the executive council, we got very clear figures at that stage from our Chief Financial Officer so…”

Jennings: “When was that?”

O’Leary: “Last week, last week..”

Jennings: “So you… only last week you found out that your general secretary was earning half a million euro?

O’Leary: “The role of the deputy president did not encompass the salary of the general secretary. It never has. The role of the president and treasurer did, so I did not know.”

Jennings:What did you think he was earning?

O’Leary: “The common expectation or the common understanding was that he would be benchmarked off the secretary general of the Department of Agriculture…”

Jennings: “That’s about €185,000…”

O’Leary: “Now, it is €185,000. It would have been substantially higher when his contract would have been signed.”

Jennings: “So were you shocked?”

O’Leary: “Yes, I was.”

Jennings: “There were members, also last night, who are expressing a little surprise over what Eddie Downey was being paid. Did you know what he was being paid?”

O’Leary: “At the same time, when he told us, last week.”

Jennings: “So you only knew that last week?”

O’Leary: “Yes.”

Jennings: “What did you think he was earning?”

O’Leary: “I would have expected he’d have been on a pretty good salary, I didn’t speculate on that. I’m on €35,000 a year, I didn’t negotiate that, that was the package offered to me when I came in. I’m a dairy farmer, that is sufficient for me, to pay a replacement labour on my farm. So, ok, that allows me then to do the job that I do for the Irish Farmers’ Association. It’s practically a full-time job, I tell you, it’s a job and a half these days. But it’s practically a full-time job to do this. So I left my farm to do this and that allows me to do so.”

Jennings: “You don’t need me to tell you there are farmers up and down the country who are, I think it’s fair to say, livid that the general secretary was earning over half a million euro in the year before the crisis was earning less than half a million euro last year. Some of them will be pretty annoyed that a president was earning nearly €150,000 this year and last year. What would you say to them this morning? Many of whom are threatening to withdraw their membership. And are also questioning whether they should continue to pay fees for every transaction they undertake.”

O’Leary: “Yes, well, what I’d say to them first of all, on behalf of the organisation, I apologise for the mistakes we’ve made in that area, I think we are now going to review everything again. We’re going to look at these payments, through the renumeration committee, that’s what this strengthened committee is set up to do, to look at the payment of the general secretary and the stipend of the president and make recommendations on that and we will do that and we will do that in the light of current circumstances, I think is the best way to describe it. And I cannot take responsibility for the decisions of others in the past but what I can do is give a commitment on behalf of myself and the executive board and the executive council at the Irish Farmers’ Association that we will have transparency and accountability going forward, into the future now. We do everything by the book, as everything that needs to be done, we will do it. And we will be guided on that, Gavin, by Con Lucey.”

Jennings: “Will you go into it with the same level of eyes closed as you did before? When you weren’t questioning how much your boss or your president was earning?”

O’Leary: “I’m in this position two years. Before that, I was not an honorary, a national honorary officer…”

Talk over each other

Jennings:Weren’t you curious about what your boss was earning? No?”

O’Leary: “I think the honest answer here is that the vast majority of people, members of the Irish Farmers’ Association, their concerns are about making a living, their concerns are about having enough income to educate their children, to put food on the table, to pay all the bills and to get on with it. And that is what they have this organisation for.

And I’ll be very honest with you here Gavin, the bulk of the time I’ve spent in this organisation, the vast majority of it up to this, all of it has been taken up with dealing with this issues and I want to get back to dealing with those issues and I think that we won’t let our members down. We will keep doing this, we will serve our members and we will represent our members on every facet of agriculture that needs to be done so we will deal with this issue. This is another problem we have to deal with. We are good at solving problems in the Irish Farmers’ Association. We solve this one and we will get on with the business and we will get our organisation back on track. That is the clear decision of the executive board yesterday and I’m going to carry that out.”

Listen back in full here

Coveney welcomes IFA President’s decision to step back from role (RTE)

Earlier: A Limerick A Day

11/12/2008 Irish Pig Meats Scandals


IFA President John Bryan said further findings from the DNA-testing Programme on pigmeat carried out by the IFA show that consumers continue to be misled and there is a very disappointing level of support for Irish pig producers. From almost 300 samples that have been collated and sent to IdentiGen for cross-checking with the Irish boar DNA database, 52% of products are not Irish.

Brands such as J. Crowe & Sons, Thurles Bacon, Glensallagh (Lidl), Bradleys and Templetuohy Farm Fresh Foods are confusing consumers by using labels that suggest they are using Irish pigmeat when our results show non-Irish product has been used in some cases. In one case – Thurles Bacon – a product didn’t display a plant number, which is illegal.


DNA Results Confirm Half Of Pigmeat Tested Is Not Irish (Irish Farmers Association)

Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland