IFA re­turns to court over pay dis­pute with for­mer chief

Irish Independent - - NEWS - Louise Ho­gan

THE on­go­ing legal bat­tle be­tween the Ir­ish Farm­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (IFA) and its for­mer sec­re­tary gen­eral Pat Smith will come back be­fore the High Court next month.

Both sides had agreed to me­di­a­tion as they tried to re­solve the row over Mr Smith’s exit from the coun­try’s largest farmer lobby group in 2015 amid spec­u­la­tion and pres­sure around his salary.

It is un­der­stood this has stalled in re­cent weeks and the cases taken by Mr Smith’s solic­i­tors are due be­fore the High Court for pro­ce­dural mat­ters in Oc­to­ber. How­ever, a spokesman for the IFA in­sisted: “Ef­forts to re­solve this mat­ter are on­go­ing.”

Mr Smith, who had worked with the rep­re­sen­ta­tive body for 25 years, de­clined to comment.

A re­port was car­ried out for the IFA af­ter the con­tro­versy showed Mr Smith had re­ceived a to­tal pay pack­age of €307,000 and a pen­sion con­tri­bu­tion of €145,000 in 2015. Mr Smith has brought two legal chal­lenges against the IFA, in­clud­ing seek­ing or­ders for the pay­ment of a €2m sev­er­ance pack­age. In ad­di­tion, it is un­der­stood that he al­leges he was de­famed by the IFA and brought pro­ceed­ings for dam­ages.

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