09 Aug 2022

Ex IFA CEO Pat Smith settles action against IFA for nearly €2 million

IFA farming

Two High Court actions brought by former Irish Farmers Association general secretary Pat Smith against the Association have been resolved.

Mr Smith had sought orders requiring the IFA to comply with the terms of an agreement he said he had entered into with the association in November 2015 to pay him €2m via payments of €1m now and a further €1m over the next ten years.

It is understood Mr Smith will receive €1.9m from the IFA in settlement of his claim.

Mr Smith had also alleged he was defamed by the Association and has issued a claim for damages, including aggravated damages.

As part of the settlement in a statement read to the court by its counsel Mark Connaughton SC for the IFA said IFA and Pat Smith confirm the actions over alleged breach of contract in relation to Mr Smith's departure from the IFA and the action relating to statements and comments made subsequent to his departure have been settled.

"Mr Smith was employed by the IFA for more than 26 years and was its CEO for seven years until his employment was terminated by agreement in November 2015"

"IFA accepts that Mr Smith was a highly effective, hardworking and dedicated executive of the Association who provided solid and professional leadership for farmers and the Association," the statement said.

"IFA accepts that it made certain statements in the media at the time which were defamatory of Mr Smith and regrets the damage caused to his reputation" the statement continued.

"IFA wishes Pat Smith and his family the very best for the future," the statement concluded.

The other case was aimed at securing enforcement of a November 19th 2015 agreement which Mr Smith, represented by Tom Mallon Bl, instructed by solicitor Donal Spring claimed was valid, effective and enforceable.

Mr Mallon told Ms Justice Carmel Stewart on Thursday afternoon that both cases were listed for hearing before the High Court, but could now be struck out on consent.

The Judge welcomed the resolution of the matters.

In the case over the 2015 agreement, Mr Smith had sought orders for specific performance of that agreement or, alternatively, orders requiring the Association pay him €1m now which he claims is due in consideration of his resignation as general secretary.

He also wanted it to pay him an additional €1m via yearly €100,000 instalments.

Mr Smith, who worked for the IFA for over 25 years and became the general secretary in 2009, departed the association after the IFA came under pressure to reveal his salary.

It was later disclosed he was paid more than €540,000 in 2013 and more than €450,000 in 2014 and 2015.

In his action over the agreement, he sought orders requiring the IFA calculate income tax and statutory deductions from the €1m sum sought now in the most tax-efficient manner that is legally permissible and pay those to the Revenue.

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