Lucey made these allegations in a letter dated 11 August 2014. It was at that time that the Irish Farmers Journal exclusively reported that Lucey had resigned from the audit committee. Con Lucey’s resignation arguably sparked the series of events which resulted in Smith’s resignation last week.

Lucey’s letters to the IFA president were published on Monday afternoon on corporate governance expert Elaine Byrne’s website.

In his first letter to IFA president Eddie Downey, Lucey alleged that former IFA general secretary Pat Smith wanted to “review” documents prepared by IFA financial controller Ken Heade prior to a meeting of the audit committee. Lucey said a meeting of the audit committee would be a "charade if documentation were first to be sanitised” by Smith before the committee got to see them.

Lucey added that Smith's attendance at the audit committee “is intended to influence meetings”.

In the same letter, Lucey said he was also stepping away from the committee because he did not have the relevant experience in “accountancy/auditing” but he expressed his hope that Jer Bergin and JJ Kavanagh would continue their work on the “valuable” committee.

Second letter

In a second letter, dated a week later on 18 August, Lucey said that despite a phone call from Eddie Downey on 13 August, Lucey said he was to “stick” with his “decision to resign as chairman of the IFA audit committee”.

Lucey said that he acknowledged that both Downey and Smith would address his “concerns” but stuck by his decision.

Lucey offered suggestions as to how he felt the next chair of the audit committee could improve the committee. These included that the general secretary or financial controller should attend meetings of the audit committee only “by invitation” from the committee.

Lucey added that there was a “compelling case for the establishment of a remuneration committee in IFA” which would not include the president or the general secretary for “obvious reasons”.

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