At the final IFA election hustings, held in Tullamore, Co Offaly on Tuesday night, Nigel Renaghan, chair of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) poultry committee and one of three IFA deputy president hopefuls, alleged that the staff in Bord Bia are paid an average wage of €126,000.

Renaghan made the comment off the back of a question from the floor on the fairness of Bord Bia inspections, an issue which has cropped up repeatedly in these election hustings.

All three candidates had their own responses to this question, with Renaghan being the only one to raise the topic of Bord Bia pay.

In a statement issued to the Irish Farmers Journal, a spokesperson for Bord Bia disputed Renaghan's claim, saying it was "wide of the mark".

"All Bord Bia pay grades are linked to civil service pay guidelines. Entry level pay is €22,727. The highest pay grade for all staff except the Chief Executive is €105,966. The CEO Aidan Cotter is paid €149,175. The claims made at the IFA hustings in Tullamore on Tuesday night are wide of the mark”, the spokesperson said.


However, when contacted by the Irish Farmers Journal with Bord Bia's response, Renaghan clarified the claim he was making, saying that Bord Bia should "read their own information" before they criticise his comment.

Renaghan, who sits on the Meat and Livestock board of Bord Bia in his capacity as IFA poultry chair, highlighted Bord Bia's published accounts for 2014, in which the company states the total pay costs of its 88 staff in 2014. The total pay cost in 2014 was €11.088m, which divided by 88 results in €126,000.

The total pay cost is made up of wages and salaries, social welfare costs and pension costs, which reflect pension benefits earned by former employees. Out of the €11.088m, pension costs to former employees amount to €3.013m, a Bord Bia spokesperson said, which "significantly reduces" the average wage figure claimed by Renaghan.

Bord Bia under criticism

Bord Bia has come under fire throughout the hustings from farmers who feel that the quality assurance inspections carried out by the food board are too severe. Some 6.8% of farms failed quality assurance audits last year, a significant increase from 4.8% in 2014, according to figures provided to us by Bord Bia.

The food promotion board commented on the figures, saying “no farmer fails an audit on a minor technicality”.

Bord Bia hiring

Meanwhile, Bord Bia has been busy looking for more names to add to its pay roll. It has been continuously tweeting job vacancies on its account this Wednesday, from a marketing and media manager to an Origin Green programme manager. Check out some of the vacancies here.

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