Rea Group Launches new services – Presentation

August 27th, 2010










I wish to outline to you:

1 . Who are the Rea Group

2 . Who are the team

( a )main team

( b )support team

( c )services to-date

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( d )new services
( e )new website


Back in 1974, William J. Martin and I faced the choice of being redundant

or buying out the Boss when a sharp Recession hit Agriculture in 1974 (not

unlike today).

We were either naïve or bright enough to consider that we could succeed in

providing an Agricultural Consultancy Service on a commercial basis and

succeed against the State Advisory Service which was free of charge. We

were proved right.





As you can see we have agriculturalists, taxation specialists, environmentalists, engineers,

planners, marketing personnel, lawyers, horticulturists, foresters, valuers, economists,

rural development specialists and administrators. As you can see over the years we have

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assembled a dynamic team with expertise to meet out clients’ evolving needs. This team

from the wide variety of backgrounds is at clients’ disposal. You can see details of our

team on our website.


• Agricultural consultancy
• Land and property and business transfer

• Family disputes and settlements
• Compensation reports

• Compulsory Purchase Orders
• Accountancy and taxation services

• Agri-Environmental services and EU farm schemes
• Environmental impact assessment

• Investments products
• International business consultancy



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Back in the 1980’s, our Company was substantially involved in negotiating

solutions with over-borrowed Farming and other Businesses – that

substantially arose due to Interest rates increasing from 8% in 1977/78

period to 21% – 24% in the early 1980’s and rampant inflation.

This resulted in the then Government (Fitzgerald Government) putting in

place the Farm Rescue Package which helped in a substantial way to give

light to both the Borrowers involved and their Banks.

I find it thoroughly amazing that the Head of NAMA, the Bankers and the

Financial Regulator are lacking in imagination as to how to put in place a

mini-NAMA for small Borrowers and Businesses.

I would suggest to the Government that they should lead on this matter and not be

blinded or intimidated by the bureaucrats of the state who have failed in their duty to the

Government and the people in the past i.e. previous Financial Regulator + Central Bank.

The present crisis has been aggravated by a total famine of credit. This is likely to be

aggravated by new regulations announced this week by central Bank – we are now

moving from under-regulating of the banks to being over-regulated.

In 2009, a E.U. Fund was made available for small Businesses and it has

recently emerged that very little of this has been drawn down.

I would suggest that this is because of a lack of commitment by the Banks.

We are offering a Service to deal with two issues :

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Businesses and Farmers that are being denied Credit by their


Businesses and Farmers that are over borrowed and in a most serious

and deteriorating position that has to be dealt with.

The Rea Group has put in place an experienced Team consisting of :

Richard Rea – Business Consultant with extensive experience in debt difficulty.

David Walsh – Well experienced in financial difficulties and their resolution.

Patricia Calleary – Engineer and planner with wide experience in site assessment.

Oliver Ryan-Purcell – Agricultural Law expert

Harvey Jones – Negotiator

In addition, we have strong Professional relationships with other colleagues

who have experience in this area to enable us handle the cases that are

present. Set out on our new website you will find more detail on this service.

The Government has obtained commitments from the Banks to make

€3 Billion available for viable Businesses. However, the viability of many

Businesses has been severely damaged by the delay in providing suitable credit lines.

In Survey conducted by ISME, as recently as February last 55% of credit applications

were rejected

Received Credit Refused Credit
NOV 2008 43% 57%
FEB 2009 52% 48%
MAY 2009 42% 58%
OCT 2009 58% 42%
FEB 2010 45% 55%

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The Government apart from trying to insist that Banks make facilities available, have to

ensure that the Banks do not talk out of both sides of their mouths by :

Making more Credit available


As a condition – charging more for existing Credit or demanding extra security that

is just not available.

(I wish to acknowledge that certain bank managers will facilitate their customers where

they can – and a lot of ordinary workers in the banks are under duress themselves from

their head offices)

In another Survey commissioned by I.S.M.E., it was found that from May 2009 – to early

2010, 80% of respondents considered that the Banks were making it more difficult to

obtain additional Finance. Unnecessary bureaucracy is being put in place at present by a

particular bank to deal with new or extended applications.

Our services consist of:

Identifying the magnitude of the problem so as to design a Debt Management Plan

to aid recovery where this is an option.

Devising a Strategy to protect Family Assets and safety of Inheritance where this is


Taking over and managing the problem and negotiating settlement in circumstances

where there is a possibility of doing so.

Reviewing the Security position, Personal guarantees, and the circumstances that

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led to the Financial difficulty. Investigating the possibility of reckless lending and

Having established the facts of each case, advising in association with our retained
reckless advice and the Bank Loan guaranteed.

Experts in relation to Summons, Legal proceedings, Judgments, Bankruptcy,

Attachment Orders, Freezing of Personal Assets, setting aside Asset Transfers,

Schemes of Arrangements and Defenses.

The Rea Group wish to point out that a very substantial amount of Farming and

other Business can be saved by early intervention with good financial action,

strategic advice and negotiation.


Ireland is now regarded as one of the most expensive Countries in the

World for Litigation.

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Recent changes have come into play by the Court Service in respect of

Mediation – Michael O’Connor, Barrister and Oliver Ryan-Purcell, agricultural law

consultant will outline this.

The Rea Group have been providing Expert Witness Reports to Solicitors since the Rea

Group commenced.

The Rea Group are now joining forces with Barrister Michael O’Connor BL and Oliver

Ryan-Purcell, agricultural law expert – who has had a long association with the Rea

Group. They have put in place a Team of Accredited Mediators who will be in a position

to offer a Mediation Service to a wide range of Businesses including Agriculture,

Construction as well as the area of Employment Disputes, but not limited to these. The

Rea Group would see itself as being able to facilitate solicitors and their clients resolve

disputes in a cost effective manner.

I introduce Oliver Ryan-Purcell who is leading the Mediation Division

of our Company.

The traditional method of dispute resolution is the Court Process – preceded perhaps by

off the record attempts at settlement. As you well know, this generally public procedure

can be cumbersome, expensive, time consuming and stressful.

Mediation is an alternative form of dispute resolution which is both growing in popularity

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and is also, as Michael will show, now encouraged in various pieces of European and

domestic legislation.

Mediation is a simple process generally involving one or perhaps more meetings between

the mediator and individual parties to the dispute or both parties together as appropriate.

These meetings take place at mutually convenient times and places such as hotel rooms.

The parties effectively communicate through the mediator who merely guides and

facilitates the process and helps the parties to explore all options to achieve settlement.

Communication is re-established, stress is virtually eliminated, confidentiality is assured

and all sorts of options for settlement are explored.

The process is very much ‘off the record’ and the parties are free to terminate it at

any time and their legal rights and remedies remain unaffected. Cost is minimal when

compared to Court proceedings.

Parties remain in control of the process as opposed to the Court Process when the parties

are subject to the Court Diary and procedure.

There is a written mediation agreement beforehand setting out the ground rules. Once

settlement is achieved, it is recorded in a settlement agreement.

Otherwise, there is no official or binding documentation of any kind.

Accredited mediators are qualified to handle any type of dispute but obviously it helps

when the mediators have a particular understanding of the type of disputes they are

mediating including the relevant law and practice. I have been in rural private practice

as a solicitor with particular emphasis on agricultural law for upwards of thirty years

but have now opted to cease practice in order to become a professional mediator and

agricultural law consultant.

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Personally, my area therefore would be in the area of agricultural/family/succession/

inheritance/farm partnership formation and dissolution/ neighbour/ private landlord

and tenant/ conflict i.e. what would be termed the civil area generally involving private

parties. Michael O’Connor would tend to deal more with the commercial area including

company, commercial leasing, shareholder and section 205, winding up and/or related

petitions, large debt recovery. Obviously both of us would have the advantage access

to the wealth of knowledge and expertise available from other support members of the

Rea Group and we will be joined shortly by more people from within the Rea Group

as they themselves become accredited and who will have particular expertise in such

areas as accounting and taxation, investment on and off farm and of course farm and

other business, family settlements, family disputes, employment disputes, construction

disputes, bank disputes.

A mediator’s intervention at an appropriate time could save hundreds of thousands of

euro in court costs.

Again, it could be the difference between the happy survival of a united farm or family

business on the one hand or the destruction of a farm/business and an unending family

feud on the other. The intervention of a respected confidential mediator when parties

need some differences ironed out and while they are still on good terms can often be a


Matters that need resolution where communication between parties on such issues is

difficult and where any publicity must be avoided at all costs, literally cry out for the

intervention of a good mediator. By providing highly competent completely confidential

professional mediation services, the Rea Group can save huge expense and unending

heartache for people while at the same time greatly enhancing their assets, livelihoods and

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enjoyment of life generally.
Mediation is the sensible way of the future in solving conflict and the Rea Group are to

the fore in leading that way.

I introduce Michael O’Connor Barrister to give background of the legal



Our Company has been involved in a wide range of Services but many

people are not aware that we have been involved in assisting our Clients and

others in developing Business outside of their Farming activity.

Over €425 Million is being made available under the Rural Development

Programme to assist new businesses in rural areas.

The Rea Group have been involved in undertaking Feasibility Studies for

such new Business, negotiating Credit facilities and providing on-going

services once established such as Accounting and Taxation, and Strategic

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and Marketing advice, but this has not been widely known.

A number of our Clients have agreed to participate in our Website so I now

intend setting out briefly what these people achieved.

As many of these people only developed their business concepts in the tail end of the last

recession, their vision and stories are important so as to give hope to existing people who

want to develop their own business

Ballacola, Co. Laois

They are farmers who developed and market their
own stone products and stone products from other

Moyne, Co. Tipperary

reinstated an old castle in line with
best practice and developed an
excellent tourist product.

John & Patricia Hourrigan
Co. Limerick

they supply natural and synthetic Murroe,
grass to a wide variety of customers
for landscaping, sports, golf, ornamental lawns,
putting greens and tennis courts, in addition they
are farmers

Abbeyleix, Co. Laois

These two clients are farmers -
but they are unique in that they
owned no land. They developed the
Abbeyleix Manor Hotel

Cahir, Co. Tipperary

The Apple Fram was well-
established prior to Rea Group being
retained by Traas Family in the

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1970’s. They produce apples and wonderful
juice which has won a large number of
Bridgestone awards and are developing other
innovative products


While this business is based in
Dublin the Principal Kate Bowe is from Thurles.
They are market leaders in the arts and film PR

Co. Armagh

This company are market leaders
in fertilizer-free potatoes and other products.
The Rea Group were involved with them at the
conceptual and development stage of the business

The new website sets out details of these companies.

This nationwide range and diversity of business demonstrate the ability of

Rea Group to make a positive contribution to a wide range of businesses.

We need as a Community to support new Business ventures. Far too much

time is involved in Dail Eireann and in the Media on the Blame-game for

our present position, but insufficient energy is being spent on how to get out

of our present difficulties. We cannot change the past but we can change /

influence the future if we are positive.

The smart economy promised by the Government and supported by all parties will

provide some jobs but unless we fundamentally reform, how the State does its business –

then this Country will not have a sustainable recovery.

Government Policy has to be smart and the Government needs to do its business smartly

to overcome our problems.

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Greater competition in relation to the provision of state services needs to be introduced

– it is wrong that the State provides a very substantial subsidy to State organizations in

circumstances where there the private sector is denied a similar subsidy. State and semi-

State agencies could be privatized or a voucher system introduced enabling the service

recipient to choose from a number of service providers resulting in an improved service to

the individual and saving to the State.

When I was a youth in the 1960’s, I constantly heard stories about the

Economic War in the 1930’s and the emergency during World War II. We are at present

in an economic war but the steps necessary to help resolve it are not been taken quickly


The McCarthy Report set out the cuts necessary as a start. I consider 90% of

the McCarthy Report should be implemented immediately and that

McCarthy should be asked to prepare follow-up Reports.

In the 1980’s, many Graduates emigrated and returned in the 1990’s. We now have many

Graduates with no prospects of employment and little prospects in other Countries either.

There is – I consider – an obligation on existing businesses in association with the

Government to provide work experience to such Graduates which will help fuel our


While F.D.I. is very important in job creation, the most reliable way to

re-build this economy is with indigenous industry – either Agriculture / Food

Tourism or Intellectual Enterprise generated by people in Ireland.

However Agriculture over the years has been down-graded.This is regrettable because as

an indigenous industry agriculture has a number of positive characteristics Farming and

the agri-food industry contribute more than their sizes relative to other sectors, to both

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employment and exports.

The ratio of imported production materials used in agricultural production relative

to home produced inputs and to exports is low by comparison with other sectors in

the economy.

It is a relatively stable industry in that food demand remains constant irrespective

of booms and recessions. Ireland is well placed to meet increasing world demand for

Farmers are encouraged to provide public goods such as the protection of the

environment and enhancement of the country side. They are compensated for the costs

involved in this through schemes such as REPS and AEOS. However the main business

of farmers which is food production is currently unprofitable and is leading to stagnation.

This is not sustainable.

When favourable economic conditions are made available to farmers and businesses they

will respond.

Agriculture can help lead the recovery but only if the Producers of the raw material are

rewarded for doing so.

There is little point in Farmers being told – you will get a good price for Food in 2020 or

Provision of public goods by farmers on its own will not lead to any improvement

in the Agricultural Economy.

In our experience, people from a rural background who have been successful in their own

Farming business are more likely to succeed in establishing another non-Farming

Business. This is due to their strong work ethic, previous management experience and

their desire to succeed. What we need is a growing group of positive and innovative

entrepreneurs who have the vision to develop successful Business and wealth, and as a

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consequence create employment from that success.
This Company has been involved with such people and our objective this evening is to

make the Market aware that we are in this Business and that we have been facilitators in

developing new business. We are involved in providing assistance from the conceptual

stage of business ideas and in overcoming barriers to enterprise.








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Mark Fielding of ISME speaking at Rea Group launch

August 24th, 2010

Mark Fielding of ISME speaking at Rea Group launch

REA GROUP, Cashel 24/06/2010


We must insist that Government subscribe to the terms of Article 45 of the Constitution

If Ireland were a business it would be guilty of reckless trading and wound up

Aprox 230,000 SMEs in Ireland

99% ARE SMEs of which 97% are SMALL 83% are MICRO

54% of ALL employment and OVER 60% of Private sector workers


There are 33 separate ACTS.

Since 2000 there have been 421 STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS relating to employment law administered by the DETE.

Since 2000 there have been 157 REGULATIONS and ORDERS.

We have had 26 EU DIRECTIVES.

In addition I have to deal with 8 Agencies.

  1. Labour Court
  2. Rights Commissioner
  3. Conciliation Service of LRC
  4. Employment Appeals Tribunal
  5. Equality Tribunal
  6. Joint Labour Committees
  7. Health & Safety Authority
  8. NERA

There are 16 individual (JLCs) Joint Labour Committees and 63 (REAs) REGISTERED EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENTS and God only knows how many (EROs) EMPLOYMENT REGULATION ORDERS.

This is on top of a NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE.

And the jewel in the crown – the many different CODES OF PRACTICE.

Added to all of this there can be up to 5 layers of appeals.

Now if i have a female of childbearing age working for me I have to contend with 14 different Acts and Statutory Instruments dealing with MATERNITY.

There are also more than 30 Acts or Statutes dealing with different forms of leave.


Having mentioned Trades Unions I would like briefly to turn to the issue of representation in the workplace, I believe that the vast majority of employees have no need for a Trade Union; they are educated in their rights and look after themselves. Going back to the days of the union closed shop would be completely unacceptable. And yet ever since the first Programme for National recovery in 1987 the ICTU has argued that in return for their participation in Partnership, Government should provide for STATUTORY UNION RECOGNITION. Let there be no mistake about it the main driver behind this is the dwindling numbers joining the Trade Union movement and the effort to stave off the inevitable demise of the TU movement.

The recent Ryanair decision in the Supreme Court has clarified the situation that there need not be trade union involvement in an enterprise. Because of this ruling, ICTU are back at Government looking for recognition again. We must continue to oppose statutory trade union recognition as it undermines our attractiveness for FDI, both existing and future flows, it is totally unnecessary at small business levels and also for the very reason that our employees do not want it.

In this we all have a major role to play, both in changing attitudes on the ground but also in representing and lobbying at Government level.

If Ireland were a business it would be guilty of reckless trading and wound up

  • Government failure to realise that it no longer has control of
    • Currency
    • Interest Rates
  • Government failure to curtail overheated construction sector
    • Reduce/Remove construction tax incentives
    • Warn of a property tax
  • Government failure to curtail national pay increases
  • Government failure in dealing with sustained erosion of competitiveness
  • Government failure to broaden the tax base
  • Government failure in rein in the banks
  • Government failure to curtail a €7b growth in the public pay bill
    • Adding 71,800 to the public pay roll
    • Increasing salaries 25% above the CPI
  • Government policy not evidence-based
    • Irish language policy
    • Planning policy
    • Decentralisation policy
    • Energy policy
  • Government in paralysis failing to lead with vision, a sense of urgency or courage
  • The Opposition Parties offer no better prospects

I am weary of the dead zone that politics has become. What’s troubling is the gap between the magnitude of our challenges and the smallness of our politics – the ease with which we are distracted by the petty trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our seeming inability to build a working solution to tackle any big problem.

What we’ve seen from government for close to two decades has been tinkering around the edges and a tolerance for mediocrity. There is a constant danger, in the cacophony of voices, that a politician loses his moral bearings and finds himself entirely steered by the winds of public opinion.

If we fail to act, our competitive position in the world will decline. If we act boldly, then our economy will be less vulnerable to economic disruption, our trade balance will improve, the pace of Irish technological innovation will accelerate.

Irish people believe in work – not just as a means of supporting themselves but as a means of giving their lives purpose and direction, order and dignity.

We Irish are willing to compete with the world.

We are willing to work harder than the people of any other wealthy nation.

We are willing to invest in our businesses.

We the small and medium businesses, as Obama says, are the future.

But we can only compete if our government makes the decisions and the investments that give us a fighting chance. What’s preventing us from shaping thatfuture isn’t the absence of good ideas. It’s the absence of a national commitment to take the tough steps necessary to make Ireland more competitive.

In other words, we are willing to do what needs to be done. What’s missing is not money, but a national sense of urgency.

Minister Calleary, I would like to draw your attention to the Crazy People who are here this evening. Some people refer to them as Entrepreneurs; some trade union officials refer to them as “that shower”; some civil servants refer to them as “the new poor”. It’s about these “CRAZY PEOPLE” around you who take the option of starting and running their own business, why? Because they think they can make a difference.

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits the rebels, the trouble makers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They are not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things; I even go so far as to say they push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, I see genius, I see an entrepreneur.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

We must insist that Government subscribe to the terms of Article 45 of the Constitution which places an onus on, and commits the State to favouring private enterprise.

As a staunch ISME member company I take this opportunity in wishing Rea Group every success on the launch of this phase of their business cycle.

It’s the begrudgers and naysayers who will always find a reason to say “WHY”. What I see in front of me here tonight is A GROUP OF ENTREPRENEURS – Part of the COALITION OF THE WILLING. While others say WHY? Businesses such as the Rea Group, the entrepreneurs like Richard and all his colleagues and staff have said and will always say “WHY NOT”.

Mark Fielding

Chief Executive


The Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association.

Dealing with the CPO process

August 21st, 2010

Irish Farmers Journal

By Richard J Rea

Up until recently, it was a foregone conclusion that the county council got their own way with the issuing of a CPO.

However, the lock-out of lands by landowners in 2000/2001 by the IFA resulted in a realisation, that landowners had rights and that legislation introduced in the time of the landlords was not a suitable procedure to use in a modern age. Arising from this background and the development of partnership talks with the Government, the December 2001 agreement between IFA/DOE/NRA arose. However, there was no change in the CPO legislation.

Prior to this agreement, the IFA recommended valuers who became involved in the CPO process, had been challenging the proposed designs to agree accommodation works which would relate to access, drainage, relocation of farm buildings and other design issues.

However, around this time, a new method of constructing roads was being developed known as ‘Design and Build’. This involved the local authority selecting up to five or six contractors and these selected contractors submited a price to design and build the road. The advantage to the State of this procedure is that the price is fixed and will generally be completed within time.

The disadvantage from the householders and property-owners’ point of view is that the final product could differ substantially from what was in the preliminary design, and due to the manner in which some roads are built, a more accurate description would be ‘Build and Design’.

Compulsory purchase orders have recently been issued on:

•N20 Cork to Patrickswell

N22 Adare bypass

N2 Slane bypass (part of Dublin to Derry route)

When a CPO is issued, it is generally accompanied (if it is a large project) with an Environmental Impact Statement – known as an EIS.

The information to be included in the EIS is stipulated in Article 3 the EIA Directive 85/337/EEC as amended by 97/11/EC and 2003/35/EC/EEC which states:

‘The information to be provided by the developer in accordance with paragraph one shall include at least:

—A description of the project comprising information on the site,

Design and size of project,

— A description of the measures envisaged in order to avoid, reduce

And, if possible, remedy significant adverse effects,

The data required to identify and assess the main effects which the project is likely to have on the environment,

An outline of the main alternatives studied by the developer and an

Indication of the main reasons for his choice, taking into account the environmental effects,

A non-technical summary of the information mentioned in the previous indents.

The EIS will contain a ‘draft design’ of the road.


The weakness of these ‘draft designs’ is exactly that – they are draft designs and it is the contractor who will decide what is finally built, with little control from the local authority and no control by the person whose land is being acquired.

The EU Commission has queried the ‘draft design’ as it believes that this is contrary to ‘a description of the project comprising information on the site, design and size of the project, as it is not possible to supply information on the design when that has not yet been designed.

Affected property owners will be told at oral hearings that the road will be designed to NRA standards and subject to road audits at various stages.

An example of NRA poor design standards can be seen on local roads where there are embankments and minimum lengths of crash barriers. Such examples can be seen on new roads, where there are embankments leading to bridges over a motorway.

Such designs are, I consider, highly dangerous and likely to guarantee serious injury or a fatality in various parts of the country, sooner rather than later.

By the time the CPO is issued, the road location has been settled on. Underpasses and over-bridges have also been largely determined.

Property owners are entitled to recover their costs to protect their position. However, costs are legally only due from date of notice to treat, which is generally in the future – up to 18 months after the road is confirmed by An Bord Pleanála.

Thus, property owners need to have engaged their agricultural consultant/valuer well in advance of the issue of the CPO.

I consider the system is flawed in that the position pre-issue of CPO is shrouded in semi-secrecy, with no encouragement of landowners to engage competent CPO consultants by the acquiring authority.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is meant to be a process where the affected property owners are consulted over a number of years in the process required to prepare the environmental impact statement.

This is to avoid elementary mistakes, such as drains running uphill, being part of the design.

It is beyond comprehension as to how a meaningful consultation can occur when a number of people meet a property owner to consult with him in relation to draft design. This often happens in circumstances where the property owner is not encouraged to get professional advice and where it is not unusual to remove the draft design from the property owner after the alleged consultation.

I wish to point out that certain county councils and their designers have a positive pro-active approach, but, regretfully, a large number still have an 18th century attitude.

There is a major advantage of the local authority having a pro-active approach as this results in identifying problems at an early stage and an improved design or decision to resolve the problem being made.

An example of this that I have seen on many occasions involves private dwellings – where roads are put very close to a house, when the correct decision would be to remove the house or design the road differently.

Where houses are removed, there is no guarantee that the local authority will give planning permission for a new house on the same property. I am aware of one location where the local authority refused planning permission, despite the same local authority having issued a CPO on the private dwelling.

Consultation without real information is a total waste of time. It is a joke.

Thus, you can see that where a CPO is currently in the process of being issued on a property, payment could take up to five or six years.

It is clear from this long, drawn out process, that the property owners should retain consultant valuers who are well experienced to represent them and defend their position. The only time after the issue of the CPO. that they may be able to influence the design of the scheme will be in the oral hearing.

Rea Group launches new services 24/06/2010

August 5th, 2010

Organiser & Speakers at the launch on new services by the Rea Group are( L – R) Tom Dawson, Rea Group; Mark Fielding ISME; Minister Dara Calleary ( Minister of State for Labour & Reform of the Public Service); Richard J Rea, Principal, Rea Group; Evelyn O’ Donnell, Solicitor, Donal T. Ryan & Co, Cashel; Michael O’ Connor, Barrister; Oliver Ryan – Purcell, Agri Law Consultant, Rea Group.

Present at the launch of new services by the Rea Group were Willie Martin, Martin & Rea (Cork); John Crowley, Crowley Consulting Cork; Evelyn O’ Donnell, Solicitor, Cashel; Mark Fielding, ISME; Minister Dara Calleary ( Minister of State for Labour & Reform of the Public Service); Pat Minnick, President ACA; Anne Marie Clarke, Rea Group; Tom Dawson, Rea Group.

Mark Fielding, ISME, Minister Dara Calleary ( Minister of State for Labour & Reform of the Public Service) and Tom Dawson, Rea Group in attendance at the launch of new services by the Rea Group.

Making a presentation to Minister Dara Calleary ( Minister of State for Labour & Reform of the Public Service) after the launch of New services by the Rea Group is Richard Rea, Managing Director.

Delivering his address at the launch of new services by the Rea Group is Richard J. Rea, Principal, Rea Group with Minister Dara Calleary ( Minister of State for Labour & Reform of the Public Service).

Pictured at the Launch of new services by the Rea Group are Minister Dara Calleary ( Minister of State for Labour & Reform of the Public Service); Evelyn O’ Donnell Solicitor, Donal T. Ryan & Co., Cashel and Tom Dawson, Rea Group.

Present at the Launch of New Services by the Rea Group at the Cashel Palace Hotel on 24/06/2010 are (L – R) William Martin, Martin & Rea, Cork; Calum Bain, Knight Frank; Jenny Kent, Abbeyleix Manor Hotel and Peter Sweetman, Environmentalist.

Present at the Lauch of New Services by the Rea Group at the Cashel Palace Hotel on 24/06/2010 are (L – R) Eamon Long, Wilson Country; Katrina Ryan, Rea Group; Denis Leahy, Tipperary Urban Council; George Mason, Chairman, South Tipperary IFA.

Pictured at the Launch of new Services by the Rea Group are Minister Dara Calleary ( Minister of State for Labour & Reform of the Public Service) and Evelyn O’ Donnell Solicitor, Donal t. Ryan & Co., Cashel.

Present at the Lauch of New Services by the Rea Group at the Cashel Palace Hotel on 24/06/2010 are (L – R); Michael Fitzgerald, Councillor Tipperary SR; Jackie Cahill, President, ICMSA; Philip De Vere Hunt, Auctioneer, Cashel; Tom Hayes T.D.

In attendance at the Launch of new services by the Rea Group are: Geraldine Cleary, Rea Group; Helen Guerin, Rea Group; Michael O’ Connor, Barrister; Oliver Ryan – Purcell, Agri – Law Expert, Rea Group; Ronan Hayes, Rea Group; Minister Dara Calleary ( Minister of State for Labour & Reform of the Public Service); Harvey Jones, Rea Group and Tom Dawson, Rea Group.

Consultant – road schemes put animals before people

July 31st, 2010

Limerick Leader

A representative for more than 20 individuals affected by the M20  Limerick to Cork motorway and the N21 Adare Bypass claims that  “woolly and feathered friends and otters are too well protected” in terms of the road schemes “while the human species is largely ignored”.

And in relation to one family affected by the proposed Adare bypass, he says that if they were bats, mitigation measures such as new bat houses would  be provided for  them.

Richard Rea of the Rea Group, accountants and agricultural consultants in Tipperary was speaking at the oral hearing held by An Bord Pleanala in respect of the
proposed M20/N21 in the Charleville Park Hotel.  In his submission he criticised the lack of support for families and individuals along the proposed road routes, highlighting how many won’t receive compensation for the inconvenience caused to
them during and after the construction phase.

In relation to the case of the Smyth family of Castleroberts, Adare,  the law dictates that no compensation is payable. Bryan and Maeve Smyth and their two young  aughters aged 6 and 10  moved from Raheen to Castleroberts and received the keys  to their new home on April 2, 2009 – the day the four potential routes for the Adare
bypass  were announced. Maeve suffers with  Rheumatoid Arthritis and had been advised that a country location  would be beneficial to her health. “We are not landowners. We are the nearest house to the road but we are not landowners. If you are not a landowner, you are not entitled to any compensation. We own  the house but the road isn’t going through the fields. “The road is  going through the fields next  to us.  We get nothing, only dirt, noise and debris – they won’t even clean our  windows. As a non landowner you are entitled to absolutely nothing,” explained Mr.

According to Mr. Rea, these shortcomings in the law are hugely unfair to families like  the  Smyths.  “When we established  four independence, to a large extent we took down the Union Jack and replaced it with the tricolour – but have largely retained he
worst aspects of the British system in relation to compensation. “At least the British have changed the law – so that cases like the Smyths’ would be properly dealt with in the UK”, said Mr. Rea.

Taking account of these shortcomings, he said that the only alternative and fair way
to deal with the Smyths   during construction is to relocate the family during the  excavation works at this location and provide security on the residence as appropriate.

“If Mr. and Mrs. Smyth were bats mitigation measures such as new bat houses or
temporary bat houses  would be provided”, said Mr. Rea. According to Mr. Smyth in their case, most of the experts have  assessed the impact on their house from a visual
perspective as  being “profound” for the first 15 years and “significant” thereafter.10

“Were a similar assessment made in the UK then compensation would be payable even if you weren’t a landowner”, said Mr. Smyth.

Mr. Rea, who has experience of working on other road schemes has called for the  inal build to be as per EIS drawings as submitted and as approved by An Bord Pleanala  with no deviations whatsoever except with written agreement with the affected property owners and the impacted public.

“The people affected by any change should have the benefit of independent advice
paid for by the contractor”, he said.  With respect to his earlier comment at the oral  earing that the process is “corrupt” – he  said that any system that is weighed so  heavily in favour of the developer and excludes the opportunity for the affected public to professionally present their case “I have to submit, is corrupt and contrary to the principles of European Union Law and natural justice”.

“I consider it wrong that Sweetman’s [environmentalist Peter Sweetman] woolly and feathered friends and otters are protected while the human species is largely  ignored,” he  added. During the oral hearing Eileen McCarthy, a chartered engineer and an associate of Arup Consulting Engineers who presented a presentation on the M20 motorway scheme  said that the need for the proposed €850 million road development which includes the bypassing of Charleville is justified by the fact
that the motorway scheme will result in the saving of an estimated 70 lives over the 30 years from the year of opening.

The meeting heard that the average journey time from Blarney to Attyflin near Patrickswell which is  currently approximately 61 minutes would be reduced to 44  minutes if  the road development were in place. Meanwhile, the chosen “blue route” for  the Adare bypass is the  longest and furthest away  from the village of Adare of  the four possible routes, and was described in a report published last summer as
the least value for money. However, the route was recommended, as it is the cheapest option.


July 28th, 2010

Irish Farmers Monthly

Martin & Rea Agricultural Consultants has launched three new Services: Mediation, Debt Management and
Rural Business Development. Speaking at the launch, Richard Rea said he found it thoroughly amazing
that the Head of NAMA, the Bankers and the Financial Regulator are lacking in imagination as to how to
put in place a mini-NAMA for small borrowers and businesses. He pointed to the Farm Rescue package of
the 1980’s and said a similar package was necessary today for farmers. Tom Dawson, Agronomy Director
of Services with the Company, said farmers have been very badly affected, particularly at the back end of
last year and early this year. He said they are struggling with credit, and are experiencing great difficulty in
getting credit lines agreed with their Institutions. He said the Company had recently helped a farm family
where – in a Transfer situation, with all the Loans in the Parents’ name – the son, who was taking over the
farm, was looking to get it all transferred into his name. However, the Bank was looking to increase the
Credit Terms and more security than what was there originally. “In fairness, a lot of local Banks are quite
willing to talk to us and try and make a deal, but they are coming under pressure too from higher up the
line. Back in the 1980’s, when we were involved in a lot of this type of work, Bank Managers had more
autonomy than they do now”. While Interest Rates are nothing like they were in the 1980’s, he says
the level of Debt is substantially higher in a lot of cases. Coupled with this, the level of farm income is
making it more difficult for farmers to make the repayments.

Farmers urged to turn from law to mediation

June 29th, 2010

Irish Independant

By Caitriona Murphy

(from left) Tom Dawson, Rea Group; Mark Fielding, ISME; Minister of State for Labour and Reform of the Public Service Dara Calleary; Richard Rea, Rea Group; Evelyn O’Donnell. Donal T Ryan & Co solicitors; barrister Michael O’Connor and Oliver Ryan-Purcell, Rea Group agri-law consultant, take a break at the launch of the Rea Group Mediation service in Cashel, Co Tipperary

Ireland is now regarded as one of the most expensive countries in the world for litigation.

A typical farm-family dispute over a will in the circuit court is estimated to cost a minimum of €15,000 plus VAT for each side.

However, Rea Group, the Tipperary-based farm consultancy firm, has launched a new mediation division, which, they argue, could cost significantly less for individuals involved in farm disputes.

Led by well-known solicitor Oliver Ryan-Purcell and barrister Michael O’Connor, the new division will handle succession and inheritance issues, neighbour disputes, landowner/ tenant problems, commercial leasing, shareholder disputes and large debt recovery.

Speaking at the launch of the mediation service, Mr Ryan-Purcell described litigation as “going for the jugular”.

“The court process is cumbersome, expensive, time consuming and stressful,” he said.

“Using mediation could avoid decades of litigation. A mediator’s intervention at an appropriate time could save hundreds of thousands of euro in court costs.

“It could be the difference between the happy survival of a united farm or family business on the one hand or the destruction of a farm or business and an unending feud on the other,” he added.

Barrister Mr O’Connor said mediation would be very useful in a farm scenario where the father leaves everything to one child and the other children immediately challenge the will.

“If there are several claims, that means the sale of the farm,” said Mr O’Connor.

“There is a winner-takes-all aspect to court litigation, but mediation offers an alternative and is now being encouraged through the court system,” he added.

Mediation is a simple process involving one or more meetings between a mediator and individual parties to the dispute or the parties together.

The mediator guides and facilitates the process by helping the parties to explore all options to achieve settlement.

Top famers have necessary skills to succeed in other businesses

June 26th, 2010

Irish Examiner

By Joe Dermody

Saturday, June 26, 2010

SUCCESSFUL farmers have all the managerial skills they need to thrive in the non-farming business world, says one leading agri-business advisor.

Richard Rea, MD of Tipperary-based Rea Group, said that those who succeed at farming have the work ethic, realism, innovative ideas and adaptability needed to succeed in most avenues of business.

He says farmers are the most likely source of Ireland’s badly needed next generation of entrepreneurs — people who can create and sustain employment without having to depend on the state, foreign direct investment or double-talking bankers.

“Ireland needs more people like Liam Griffin (hotelier) and Sean Quinn (insurer), people who are not afraid to take a risk and make a mistake,” said Richard Rea.

“Larry Goodman never went to college. He started out skinning carcasses when he was 16. The people who create jobs are most mostly people who’ve been to the university of life.

“A lot of those economic commentators, the Dublin 4 brigade, wouldn’t know how to create a job to save their own life. People like me are getting fed up of the Dublin 4 set devoting all their time to analysing the past and where it all went wrong, but serving up no clues as to where our future lies and no answers to the credit shortages in the agricultural sector.”

Offering strategic advice to farmers since 1975, the Rea Group re-launched this week to promote its expanded range of agri-business advisory services.

Its website,, features clients who certainly give substance to Richard Rea’s claims for rural ingenuity. The seven testimonials all feature former farmers who now collectively employ more than 200 people.

A few years back Tom and Pat Hennessy launched Manor Stone, a successful stone and garden business built out of a quarry they found on their farm in Co Laois. They now employ over 40 people.

Angus Wilson was a young, ambitious man when he took over the family’s six-acre farm in Armagh in the 1980s. Angus wanted an extra revenue stream. He tried goats, but his second idea fared better. His specialist premium potato business, Wilson’s Country, now employs 100 people.

“I believe that Ireland has become overly dependent on big foreign companies,” said Richard Rea.

“Foreign investment is important, but it won’t solve the job shortages Ireland is now facing. More than 60% of the businesses in Ireland are small indigenous companies.

“People who become unemployed, or whose farms are struggling, should not be asking ‘how can I get a job?’ They should be asking ‘how can I use my skills to create a business?’ We can help people through the development stage, and they can get 75% LEADER funding for the feasibility study.”

So what characteristics do those farmers who succeed in business have in common?

Richard Rea says: “Most of the farmers we have seen succeed in business were ambitious people. They had gone as far as they could with farming, they were bored and they wanted a challenge.

“They had management ability and a strong work ethic.

“They made their move as much for a sense of achievement as for the extra income. After all, a new business can take six to seven years to make any money, what with paying back bank loans and the interest.

“Anyone who has been successful as a farmer can be successful in business. Anyone who has not succeeded as a farmer would probably be better off as an employee.”

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Saturday, June 26, 2010

REPS – the environmental benefits

August 8th, 2009

Irish Farmers Journal

By Tom Dawson, John Bligh, James Carton and Ian Kenny

REPS was introduced in 1994, and over the past 15 years, 60,000 Irish farmers have participated in the scheme. Over these years, the environmental improvements that have occurred in the Irish landscape are plain to be seen. REPS obliges participants to exceed National and EU environmental regulations.

In this article, we attempt to quantify the economic benefit of some of these environmental improvements. The Irish landscape, which for the most part is a farm landscape, is generally appreciated by us all, from the farming community to rural and urban dwellers and foreign visitors alike. The preservation of the existing environment and its enhancement through planting hedges, trees and creating habitats, can be attributed in the main to REPS. It is possible to put a value on this enhancement.

A 2004 study*, entitled ‘Putting a Value on the Farm Landscape’, was written by Tomás O’Leary and Art McCormack of the Faculty of Agri-food and Environment, UCD. They carried out a study on 44 farms nationally in order to assess the landscape benefits of REPS.

Twenty seven of these farms were in REPS, while the remainder were similar farms but not REPS participants. It then estimated the resulting economic value of these improvements, based on the general public’s preference for improved landscape and appearance when compared to the non-REPS farms.

The following discussion relies heavily on the results of this study, which was commissioned by the Department of Agriculture and Food.

REPS versus non-REPS farms

REPS farms achieved higher results in terms of positive landscape assessment compared to the non-REPS farms in the study, clearly indicating the effectiveness of the scheme in terms of landscape quality. Figure 1 shows that farms in REPS were mostly at the upper end of the so called Landscape Aesthetic Quality Score, while non-REPS farms were mainly at the lower end.

Valuation of Maintained or Improved Landscape

Aside from financial benefits to participants in the scheme, REPS offers a range of environmental benefits to society. To date, REPS have been the only economic policy incentive for farmers to enhance the landscape contribution of their holdings. These benefits include improved water quality, the visual value of the rural landscape, wildlife preservation and the preservation of habitats and features of historical interest.

The study used a standard evaluation method known as the ‘willingness to pay principle’ (WTP) to measure the value put on a variety of landscape characteristics attributable to REPS by a sample group of urban and rural dwellers. These characteristics were identified by the authors in conjunction with landscape experts as being key features of the REPS ideal.

Landscape benefits

Total landscape benefits arising from REPS exceeded €150m in 2003. Assessing whether REPS offers value for money also requires an examination of the costs associated with it.

In 2003, total expenditure on REPS, adding together payments under REPS1 and REPS2 and administration and inspection costs, was approximately €195m. Landscape benefits alone, were worth 78% of the total cost of REPS in 2003.


With the introduction of REPS3 and subsequently REPS4, biodiversity in the landscape became a more important feature of the scheme. The basic 11 measures of the scheme lead to greater landscape improvements, with enhanced biodiversity.

These biodiversity options shown below are implemented by participants in the scheme. Figures are not available for the options selected in REPS4. However, the trends evident from REPS3 can be extrapolated to REPS4. These biodiversity options are ‘additional’, in the sense that they exceed basic cross-compliance obligations and could well be lost.

High value

In general, the study suggests that the public attaches a high value to landscape improvement measures under REP schemes. However, landscape improvement is not the only environmental benefit resulting from REPS.

Improved quality of drinking water, biodiversity, enhanced recreational opportunities, as well as reduced carbon levels also need to be measured. While this has not yet been done, and is beyond the scope of the current study, it is reasonable to assume that when added to the landscape benefits shown above, the environmental benefits of the REPS programme comfortably exceed the costs associated with it.

In summary, it can be established from the studies available that there are significant environmental benefits. These benefits in economic terms were calculated to be €153.2m per annum for landscape benefits alone, at a time when the total cost of implementing REPS (National co-funding and EU contribution) was €195.4m. No attempt has been made to quantify in money values the contribution of enhanced biodiversity and other environmental benefits. If these were included, it is very likely that the environmental benefits of REPS, on their own, would outweigh the total cost of implementing the scheme.

In last week’s article on the costs of REPS, it was shown that because of EU co-funding, REPS had no net cost to the Exchequer.

The State can, therefore, be said to be achieving enhanced environmental objectives at little, if any, net cost through REPS. Without a well-funded environmental scheme to succeed REPS4, benefits will be lost.

*T O’Leary , A McCormack, G Hutchinson, D Cambell, R Scarpa and B Riordan (2004), ‘Putting a Value on the Farm Landscape’ Paper presented at National REPS Conference.

REPS gives back more than it costs to run

August 1st, 2009

Irish Farmers Journal

By Richard J Rea, David Walsh and Michael Ryan

The Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA) recently conducted a study on the economic benefit of REPS to the local economy and found that the scheme contributes more to the National Exchequer than it costs to run.

In this article, we will examine the immediate net cost to the Exchequer of maintaining the REPS programme.

Money paid through the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) has gone initially to the farmers involved, and ultimately to their suppliers and contractors, as well as to various retailers, Co-ops and shops in rural communities.

REPS payments in 2009 were budgeted to amount to some €330m. Even allowing for the 70% of expenditure on average, which farmers have to incur in order to meet the requirements of REPS participation, this represents a very considerable income supplement to the farmers involved who are mainly low income cattle and sheep producers.

However, the main beneficiaries of the REPS programme are not farmers, but the suppliers and contractors mentioned above.

Benefits of REPS

In the following paragraphs, we will attempt to quantify the benefits of REPS, as it currently operates, to secondary recipients and to the national Exchequer.

If we assume that of the €330m REPS payments, 30% or €99m, ends up as payment for the farmers time and labour then the remaining €231m is spent on inputs and services necessitated by REPS compliance.

This expenditure is predominantly on inputs which are subject to VAT. We can reasonably assume that half of this spending is on service provision such as contractors, builders or planners, which attracts a VAT rate of 13.5% and the remainder is on tangible inputs taxed at 21.5%. The total VAT take in this situation amounts to €34.4m (See figure 1).

The net figure spent on inputs after VAT is removed is therefore €196.6m.

This is the amount that is available to the providers of goods and services to cover wages, materials, overheads and profit.

We have conservatively assumed that 33.3% of net receipts by input providers goes towards wages and salaries, that a further 56.7% goes as cost of sales, i.e. the purchase of materials and overheads and the balance of 10% is retained as profit (Figure 2).

Calculate value

In order to calculate the value of this spending to the Exchequer in terms of taxes on income, we have made the assumption that the average employee in these businesses earns €25,000 per annum. We have also assumed that half of the businesses are incorporated and therefore pay corporation tax at 12.5%.

We assume the remainder to be sole traders who pay tax at 25%. Finally, we assume that 400 REPS planners earn on average €35,000 per annum. The figures for PAYE/PRSI in Figure 3 include the employers’ PRSI contribution. In the case, of farmer tax arising from the €99m accruing to farmers own labour input, we assume again that income tax, PRSI and levies will be paid at an average tax rate of 25%.


We now turn our attention to employment directly attributable to REPS. We have assumed average earnings of €25,000 per employee and earnings of €35,000 per REPS planner. Given a total wages bill of €67.2m, this suggests a total of 2,460 workers whose livelihood is directly attributable to REPS.

These figures are probably conservative. Closing down REPS would result in even higher job losses when the knock-on effect of the first round of job losses is taken into account.

This latter point is re-inforced by data from the recent Quarterly Economic Commentary issued by the ESRI (Summer 2009), which forecasts an 8.9% decline in GNP for this year.

Unemployment is forecast to increase by 6.3% over the same period.

Extrapolating from this data, using current GNP and unemployment statistics, while an inexact science, would suggest that removing €330m in incomes from the economy (c. 0.2% of GNP) would lead to an increase of approximately 3,100 in the level of unemployment nationally.

This figure corresponds closely with figures for job losses arrived at using the more direct measurement outlined above.


It is important to point out that because a large proportion of REPS expenditure goes to relatively low income households, it is likely to have a relatively large multiplier effect in the immediate economy.

In other words, as pointed out above, farmers are likely to spend a considerable portion of REPS receipts on associated activities such as maintenance, fencing, building and contracted activities. This type of spending will typically have a low import content when compared with spending by other businesses. It will therefore have a positive impact on the Irish balance of payments

Additionally, because low income households are less likely to save and more likely to spend on basic consumer items, the portion of REPS payments retained by farmers is also likely to be spent in the immediate locality as part of normal household expenditure. This further re-inforces the multiplier impact.

Using the lower figure (2460) for unemployment resulting from REPS closure, we can begin to calculate a figure for jobs seekers allowance.

To do this, we assume that half the applicants are married, with an average of two children, while the remainder are single.

Given current rates, this will result in average payment of €15,600 per annum or a total of €38.4m.

The complete closure of REPS would result in perhaps 15% of existing REPS participants qualifying for Farm Assist.

An average rate of €10,600 per farmer is assumed based on half the recipients being married with two children with the remainder being single. The resulting total is €98.6m in additional Farm Assist payments.

Immediate loss

The figures in Figure 4 quantify the immediate loss to the Exchequer of higher unemployment and reduced farm incomes.

To these should be added the less easily quantified second and subsequent losses of incomes and tax revenue resulting from reduced levels of spending by these two groups. We have ignored supplementary social welfare costs, such as increased medical card entitlement, higher spending on rent allowances and on similar schemes.

Current REPS funding is comprised of three elements – EU contribution, co-funding and additional State funding. The latter two elements come from the Irish Exchequer and amount to just over 55% of the total.

Therefore, approximately €181m of this year’s budgeted spending on REPS comes from the Irish Government. This cost to the Exchequer is considerably less than the €214.9m lost from revenue foregone, and the additional social welfare payments incurred (Figure 4).

In the presence of EU co-funding, REPS actually contributes more to the National Exchequer than it costs.

Even this is not the complete picture because we have made no attempt to put a money value on the environmental benefits of REPS to society and the economy in general. This aspect of REPS will be covered in a subsequent article.

*David Walsh and Richard J Rea are Agricultural Consultants.

**Michael Ryan is a lecturer in Economics at the Limerick Institute of Technology.

Money paid through the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS)  has gone initially to the farmers involved, and ultimately to their  suppliers and contractors, as well as to various retailers, Co-ops and  shops in rural communities.