Congratulations to Molly White, Gortnagross who celebrated her 98th birthday on November 2nd..

Congratulations to Molly White, Gortnagross who celebrated her 98th birthday on
November 2nd..

Joan, Siobhán, Mark and Dan Griffin at the Fair of the Village

Joan, Siobhán, Mark and Dan Griffin at the Fair of the Village

St. Vincent de Paul

The St. Vincent de Paul Church gate collection takes place this weekend, December 5th & 6th at both masses. Your generosity would be greatly appreciated.

Christmas Street Lighting

A sincere thank you to all who contributed to our Church gate collection at the weekend. The amount raised was €668.

Going Strong Christmas Party

The Christmas party takes place next Wednesday, December 9th. Dinner at 1.00pm with music after by Blue Rhythm. €10 per person for dinner and entertainment, numerous spot prizes on the day.  Names have to be in this weekend to Rose at Brouder’s Shop or Peggy Casey.

If any business or anyone would like to donate a spot prize it would be much appreciated.

 Stamps Appeal

A reminder to collect your used stamps again this year. Every year there is a great response to this request and the collectors are very grateful for this. You can drop the stamps in to the office here for collection at any time.

IFA in Turmoil

The IFA and its problems have hogged the airwaves and newspapers all the week and rightly so. Ordinary members of the organisation were aghast to discover the level of pay to their top executive and president. The majority of farmers can only expect to earn one tenth or less of the salary of the CEO which is reported to have been about €400,000 a year. The fact that the president of the organisation was on a salary of €150,000 also came as a complete surprise to the members, many of whom thought that a person would be paid to run the president’s farm while he was in office and that he would then be entitled to expenses on top of that. That is how it used to work but times have changed and the position is more demanding.

I remember when I was national president of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann back in the ‘seventies and ‘eighties. I got the normal travelling expenses plus an honorarium of £200 old pounds a year. It was a pretty demanding schedule, sometimes being away from home for weeks on end accompanying tour groups to different parts of the world or attending AGMs and annual socials plus all the Fleadhs and many meetings. Back in those days the roads were not as good as they are today. There were no motorways or bypasses so every town and village had to be passed through whatever route one took.  It was a four and a half hour journey from home to Dublin and almost a whole day to get to Donegal. Because I was self-employed it cost me a lot of money over the six years I did the job so I fully understand why the president of an organisation as busy as the IFA should be well remunerated

It has to be acknowledged that the IFA is one of the strongest lobby groups, not only in Ireland but in Europe. They have been very successful in maximising returns from both the Irish and European administrations and farmers would be far worse off if they weren’t represented so well. The question is, how much should the people who run the organisation get paid? There is an old saying “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys” so if you want the right calibre of person they need to be properly remunerated. The problem in this country is that we tend to pay ourselves too much. We are a little island off the coast of Europe but our politicians and civil servants are among the highest paid in the world. Our Taoiseach earns more than the President of the USA so we can’t be too surprised when others expect the same levels. CEOs are usually well paid because of the demands of the job and the amount of man hours they put into it. The good ones are in great demand so if you want the best you must be prepared to pay top dollar. If they produce the goods they will have earned their keep. The president of the organisation needs to be reimbursed not only for the financial loss he/she may undergo but for the mental strain of such a demanding position. I know that in my case I missed out on some very important years in my children’s young lives. No amount of money will compensate for that.

The problem with the IFA situation is not the fact that the people at the top are paid so much, it is the secrecy surrounding the negotiations and the fact that ordinary members were totally in the dark. This is not good enough and there are repercussions but the organisation is too important to the well being of farmers to be disbanded. As the saying goes “don’t throw out the baby with the bath water”.

There needs to be a radical overhaul at the top and everything has to be transparent. We must remember that farmers are the backbone of this country providing jobs and much needed revenue from exports and they need good representation, so let us hope they rise like the Phoenix from the ashes with a much stronger, democratic and transparent organisation where everybody knows what is happening and there are no skeletons hiding in the cupboard.

Domhnall de Barra