Bord Bia paid out just over €130,000 in board fees, including travel and subsistence fees, in 2020.

Dan MacSweeney, chair of the board, received €20,520 in board fees and €569 in travel and subsistence. There are 14 members of the board. Nine board members received €11,970.

IFA president Tim Cullinan received €11,113 in total, receiving 11 months’ worth of fees and subsistence payments for 2020. His predecessor Joe Healy received €997.50 last year for his membership of the board.

Three board members did not receive fees for sitting on the board. Niall Browne of Dawn Meats and Pat Murphy of Kerry Group waived the fees.

Sinead McPhillips is assistant secretary general at the Department of Agriculture and sits on the board, she was not paid for her board membership under the one-person, one-salary principle.

Other boards

Five other boards report into the main Bord Bia board: meat and livestock, consumer foods, dairy, horticulture and quality assurance (QA). In its 2020 annual report Bord Bia said amounts paid to subsidiary board members for travel and subsistence expenses in 2020 amounted to €2,796.19.

“No fees were paid to subsidiary board members in 2020 in relation to attendance at subsidiary board meetings,” it said.

Meat and livestock

The meat and livestock board is chaired by Tony Keohane, the former chair of Tesco Ireland. The board is made up of Ado Carton, Meat Industry Ireland; Tom Finn, chief commercial officer, Kepak; Brendan Golden, IFA livestock chair; Jim Hanley, chief executive, Rosderra Meats; Martin Kane, managing director, ABP Ireland; and Des Morrison, ICMSA.


Bord Bia’s dairy board is chaired by Tom Moran, the former secretary general of the Department of Agriculture.

Its membership is made up of Bernard Condon of Ornua, Marc Healy of Kerry Group, Lorcan McCabe of ICMSA, Seán Molloy of Glanbia, John O’Gorman of Dairygold and Pat Shiels of Lakeland Dairies.

The IFA’s Tom Phelan resigned from the board in February 2021.

QA board

The QA board is chaired by Raymond O’Rourke, a food and consumer lawyer.

It comprises Ray Bowe of Musgrave Retail Partners, Maria Dunne of the Department of Agriculture, Dermott Jewell of the Consumers’ Association of Ireland, Paul Nolan of Dawn Meats, Liam O’Flaherty of Dairygold, Brian Rushe deputy president of IFA and Maurice Walsh of ICMSA.

Bord Bia’s annual report and accounts is a dual-purpose document in that it reflects on the performance of the agri-food industry during the year reported on, as well as the financial and activity report on the organisation itself.

While there was general satisfaction with performance, it will be a concern to farmers and the wider food industry that Bord Bia faced issues with retail promotions having to be “severely curtailed” and new listings being shelved in European retail beef markets. This is particularly significant for an exporting country such as Ireland and comes at a time when ASDA went 100% British in the UK market.

While access to China for beef is outside Bord Bia’s control, it will share industry disappointment at failure to get back into that market given the investment and presence it has in that market.

Operationally, Bord Bia adapted to the pandemic restrictions by moving events and promotional activities online. In the nuanced world of marketing and promotion, nothing replaces face-to-face engagement and relationship building but, in the circumstances, online was the only option.

One area where online activity seems to have worked is in the area of farm inspections, which were generally well received by farmers and something that should be part of a longer-term system.