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Legislation required to address latest wages scandal – Mac Lochlainn

25 November, 2015 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Sinn Féin’s Justice spokesperson, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has highlighted the need for legislation that would allow for accountability and transparency in membership driven organisations such as the IFA.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“We cannot downplay the impact of the wages scandal has had on the farming community – however calls by government ministers for greater transparency in unions and representative bodies are utterly meaningless without supporting legislation.

“We have seen, following other scandals in the charity sector such as CRC and Rehab, that self-regulation is not an option. We believe the government will have to bring in legislation, similar to the Charities Act, to ensure full financial accountability.

“There are farming families who are struggling to stay on the land who are shocked and appalled at the wages senior IFA officials have felt entitled to pay themselves. State-wide the average farmers earnings are €26,000 per annum according to Teagasc. In my home county Donegal, farmers can earn as little as €12,000 per annum.

“Following the charity sector wage scandals, arguments were put forward for the 2009 Charities Act to be implemented with the full accountability of the salaries of senior employees. The Government then dragged its feet on this issue to the degree that Sinn Féin and I introduced a Private Members’ Bill to move this Act on.

“Eventually, aided by the huge public demand for full financial accountability, the Charities Regulatory Authority was established in October of last year, aiming to regulate charities to ensure their effectiveness, accountability and transparency to their donor and beneficiary communities.

“There is no doubt that similar legislation is needed for all civic society organisations. I would urge the government to indulge in less lip-service on the issue and to draft legislation to comprehensively deal with the lack of transparency in this sector.”

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