IFA Director General

Damian McDonald named as new IFA Director General

IFA Director General

Following an appointment process overseen by KPMG, and a meeting of the organisation’s Executive Council today (Wednesday),Damian McDonald has been announced as the new IFA Director General.

Picture Credit: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The 44 year old is currently the CEO of Horse Sport Ireland, the Governing Body for the sport horse sector in Ireland. Prior to this he was CEO of Macra na Feirme from 2001 to 2007. Mr McDonald will take up the IFA role in the New Year and it has also been announced that the IFA Director General will receive a salary of €185,350.

He previously worked for the IFA from 1999 to 2001 in the position of Livestock Services Manager where he worked in the areas of Direct Payments and Animal Health.

IFA President Joe Healy said he was delighted to welcome somebody of the calibre of Damian McDonald and he looked forward to working closely with him on the many issues of concern to farm families. “The income crisis in the sector this year requires strong and committed work by IFA to improve incomes and conditions for farmers. We will work together on behalf of all farmers”.

Speaking after his appointment, Damian McDonald said:

“Being from a farming background, I am very conscious of the responsibilities the position of Director General of the IFA brings with it. I am looking forward to working with the President, the Officers, the Executive Council, National Committees and IFA’s staff team to progress the organisation and the issues affecting the farming community”.

Damian grew up on a dairy, beef and pig farm in Crossabeg in County Wexford and currently lives in Stradbally, Co. Laois with his wife Siobhan his three children Mark (17), Kate (15) and Sean (13). He holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from University College Dublin and he is a past pupil St. Peter’s College in Wexford.

“I am very grateful to the IFA for giving me this opportunity, and to Horse Sport Ireland and Macra na Feirme, for the experience I have gained working in both organisations”, he said.

“I will continue in my role as Chief Executive of Horse Sport Ireland until I serve out a notice period. My full focus will be on that role until I formally take up the position with the IFA in the New Year.”

Rebuilding of trust and transparency

In related news IFA President Joe Healy said he was pleased to announce that the recommendations of the Implementation Committee have been discussed at national and local level within the organisation and accepted in full as part of the rebuilding of trust and transparency within the Association.

“At our AGM in April, I pledged to put in place maximum transparency and high standards of governance within IFA to rebuild trust and credibility among farmers. We will now move forward to ensure the Association is adequately resourced and equipped to continue to deliver the best possible results for farm families.”

The Chairman of the Implementation Committee Teddy Cashman presented his final report to today’s Executive Council, which outlined a number of additional measures to ensure high standards of governance are in place to provide a basis for member confidence in the activities of IFA.

The Committee was established to implement the recommendations contained in the Lucey Report of December 2015.

The measures to strengthen governance include:

– Clarity around the responsibilities of the governing body (Executive Council) and procedures for delegation of work to the President’s Committee (formerly the Executive Board)

– A comprehensive induction and continuing training programme for members and those with governance responsibilities

– The Secretary to the Executive Council, which is a new role, will have responsibility for supporting the implementation of governance standards and advising the Executive Council on governance matters

– Codes of Conduct for Council members and staff to ensure confidence and trust

– An active role for the National Finance Committee in managing the financial performance of the Association

– Recognition of the Audit Committee and the Remuneration Committee in the Constitution & Rules of the Association

The President will receive a Salary of €120,000 and a Company Car

The National Treasurer Jer Bergin updated Council members on the financial position of IFA. The draft Accounts for the year ended 31st March, 2016 showed income of €18.9m and a deficit for the year of €1.4m. The operating result for IFA was a positive €127,000, but the effect of new accounting rules under FRS102 involving valuation changes altered this position to produce a deficit.

The new accounting standard also requires organisations to publish a composite remuneration figure for key management personnel. In order to provide maximum transparency to members, IFA has decided to go significantly further than the accounting requirement and give a breakdown of key management personnel

Income and expenditure down

The National Treasurer updated members of the Council on the latest financial position with the management accounts for the six months to end September 2016. Membership income has fallen by 8% compared to the same period in 2015 and the current number stands at 72,376.

Operational income for April to September 2016 is down 17% on the corresponding period last year and operational expenditure is down 7% for the same period. Taking exceptional items into account, this has created a deficit of €830,000.