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IFA Leadership Words must be followed by action – Matt Carthy MEP

24 November, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Commenting on the ongoing crisis within the IFA following the revelations over the salary of former general secretary, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West and member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Matt Carthy has said that the controversy has weakened the trust between members of the IFA and leadership figures within the organisation.  Carthy said that the statements of the IFA leadership were striking the right note but must be followed by real action in terms of providing full transparency to its members.

Carthy said:

“I have been speaking to several IFA members over the past few days.  All are shocked and many are numb with anger.  They are quite simply stunned and are demanding real action from their leadership to ensure that their trust in the organisation can be restored.  Certainly, they feel that the statements released by the IFA and the stepping aside of IFA president, Eddie Downey, have struck the right note, but they want real long-term measures to be enacted to ensure that there is full transparency within the organisation into the future.

"It is obviously a matter for the IFA membership as to who their leadership is and who is employed by the farming body.  However, the fact that the former general secretary received such a substantial salary while many farmers all over Ireland have been struggling to make ends meet in light of falling farm incomes, cannot be justified.

“Similarly the fact that this information was kept from the members of the IFA and was only revealed after considerable pressure was placed on the organisation is completely unacceptable.

“There is now a clear need for the IFA to increase the transparency of its remuneration policies and members hope that measures announced and the review being carried out by Con Lucey will bring this about. 

“Certainly this issue will have a long-lasting impact.  The simple fact of the matter is that the leadership of the IFA have let down the farmers that they represent and every effort must be made to ensure this type of incident cannot happen again.

“Should legislation be required to guarantee the transparency of salaries in the voluntary sector, this should happen without delay.”

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