IFA report reveals Pat Smith earned €3.4m in the past seven years

Con Lucey's findings recommends that the body's president should not be involved in setting pay

The Former General Secretary of the Irish Farmers' Association , Pat Smith earned €3.4m in the past seven years in pay and pension contributions.

A report into pay and governance at the IFA is recommending that an external expert look at top salaries and that the President should not be involved in setting pay.

Con Lucey’s review says, however, that the pay of IFA executives is broadly in line with levels in the public sector.

Mr Smith started on a package of €469,430 in 2009, rising to €542,634 in 2013, before falling back slightly in the past two years.

This level of remuneration shocked ordinary farmers, who were making an average of €25,000 last year.

It has also emerged that each president was given a lump sum of one year’s salary on leaving office. Last year Eddie Downey earned €156,000 euro from the organisation.

IFA economist Con Lucey is recommending that an external expert look at the IFA’s structure and transparency.

Furthermore he says that the role of General Secretary should effectively be split into a CEO and the new role of Secretary, who crucially must be independent from the CEO.

A line in the sand

Farmers say they want to draw a line in the sand and rebuild the trust lost in the IFA after the controversy over pay.

Last month, the review of pay and governance was ordered after salary details of its senior officials emerged.

Mr Smith resigned after it became public that he had earned €1m between 2013 and 2014.

President Eddie Downey stepped down from his €147,000 a year role after it emerged he signed off on Mr Smith's €2m severance package.

These members of the executive council admit there is work to do in rebuilding trust in the IFA.