IFA is not fit for purpose to serve Irish Farming – Green Party

The Green Party has claimed today that the Irish Farmer’s Association is not fit for purpose to serve the best interests of Irish farmers and farm families and that the organisation requires a root and branch overhaul to meet the challenges the sector faces both locally and globally.

Speaking following the controversy surrounding revelations of an excessive remuneration package paid to its General Secretary, Green Party Environment Spokesperson Cllr Malcolm Noonan said that an organisation purporting itself to be democratic and accountable to its members would never have allowed a situation such as this to evolve.

‘When similar accounts of exorbitant pay deals within organisations such as Rehab and the FAI broke, politicians were quick to shout ‘shame!’. There has been political silence on this as it would appear that the main political parties are afraid to tackle this last bastion of untouchable Irish institutions. In our view it is insulting to farmers who suffered terribly during the 2013 fodder crisis when the General Secretary of the organisation that should have been fighting their corner was being paid a salary well in excess of the Taoiseach’ said Cllr Noonan.

‘The Green Party is of the view that the IFA needs to adopt the accountability and transparency principles it demands from large retailers and meat processors by revealing its remuneration packages to all staff at corporate level, bring those salaries back in line with organisations of similar scale and then begin a process of re-visioning the organisation to meet the needs of Irish farm families’ he said.

The Greens cite the inaction of the IFA on highlighting concerns of farmers around the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the EU and misleading farmers on the issue of climate change and agricultural emissions in the run-up to the Paris climate talks COP21 as but two examples of an organisation that is clearly not in touch with the reality of a changed global outlook for agriculture and food.

‘The executive of the IFA now has an opportunity to show leadership and transform the IFA into an organisation that represents all farmers and not just an elite minority. Irish farm families who have worked so hard to enhance our reputation as a quality food island deserve better than this’ concluded Cllr Noonan.