The Irish Independent reports that a new report says
the legal profession still restricts competition and that its prices are
"extremely sticky" relative to other professions, and not reflective of the
Forfas, the Department of Enterprise policy body, says that while the cost of
most business and professional services has fallen since 2006, legal costs have
It says the Legal Services Bill currently making its way through the Dail
needs a number of amendments.
The report recommends removing the two-tier system that divides barristers
into junior and senior counsel.
About 12pc of Irish barristers are senior counsel according to the Bar
Council, a position awarded by the Government to barristers who usually have
over 10 to 15 years of experience.
The report says this distinction allows for higher fees to be charged by
senior counsel, but does not offer a definitive guide as to the quality of the
barrister in question.
The new report says that, to enhance competition, solicitors should be able
to act as lead counsel when working with a barrister on a court case.
It criticises the high cost of transferring property – conveyancing – in
Ireland and calls for a new of conveyancing professionals to do the work
instead of solicitors. That happened in the UK in 1987.
While noting a significant reduction in business costs in recent years, the
report also found that Ireland's rate of income tax for high earners, at 52pc
for employees and 55pc for the self-employed, is higher than most of its
Enterprise and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said this "damages inward
investment and entrepreneurship, and makes too many people question whether they
would be better off not working at all".
The Irish Independent also reports that more than
550 jobs are at stake in a bitter legal dispute over alleged trespass at the
Cork offices from which the 'Irish Examiner' and 'Evening Echo' newspapers are
now operating following restructuring of the Thomas Crosbie media group.
Kilquane Ltd, the landlord of the City Quarter Building at Lapps Quay, Cork,
will next month apply to the Commercial Court for injunctions restraining Irish
Examiner Ltd (IEL) occupying offices governed by leases between Kilquane and
Examiner Publications Cork Ltd (in receivership).
Kilquane has "absolutely no interest" in dealing with IEL given its behaviour
to date and "cynical" attitude concerning contractual and leasehold obligations,
a solicitor for Kilquane said. The property at issue is valued at some €7.32m
with an estimated rental value of €650,000 a year.
Kilquane claims Examiner Publications Cork Ltd (EPC) entered in 2008 into
20-year leases, dating from 2006, with Kilquane to occupy parts of the building
over three floors and was not entitled to assign leases to IEL as part of the
Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH) restructuring. That restructuring included EPC and
various TCH companies being placed in receivership last month.
Kilquane also claims default for more than two years on rent payments with
some €900,000 in outstanding arrears. Separate proceedings have been taken over
the rent issues.
Michael Howard, for Kilquane, told Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday that his
client was not interested in mediation as IEL was trespassing on the premises
and rent payments had been "unilaterally halved" for some two years. The lease
was between Kilquane and TCH and could not and should not have been assigned
without Kilquane's consent, he said.
Any risk to jobs was created entirely as a result of the restructuring and
the ignoring of obligations to Kilquane, counsel said.
The court heard IEL's solicitors wrote to Kilquane last month stating it
wished to agree a new tenancy and was willing to pay, as an interim measure,
some 50pc of rent due under the leases.
Kilquane refused to meet and said it would not accept a cheque from IEL for
some €100,000 to cover rent from March to May 2013.
Una Tighe, for IEL, urged mediation of the dispute, stressing that
550 jobs were involved and a business continued to operate from the
premises. The new company operating the 'Irish Examiner' is a highly
regarded business achieving significant cost savings and it expects to be
profitable by the end of this year, she said.
Mr Justice Kelly remarked what has happened to date had been
"anything but an orderly transfer of property" and asked what entitlement
had the occupier of the premises to be there.
Ms Tighe said her client was in possession with the agreement of
the tenant although there was an issue with the landlord. There should be
mediation, the dispute should be resolved and no indication had been given
that any other tenant was lined up, she added.
Mr Justice Kelly made orders for the fast-tracking of the
proceedings in the Commercial Court and listed the injunction application
for hearing on May 8. Rent arrears issues were also adjourned to that date.
The Irish Times reports that
a final decision on the adjustment of Ireland and Portugal’s bailout loans will
not be reached until the May meeting of European finance ministers, Minister for
Finance Michael Noonan has confirmed.
Speaking in Limerick yesterday, Mr Noonan said he had never given any assurance
that the deal would be signed off in April.
“I don’t think I ever said that, but other people gave an indication that it
might come to a head in Dublin.”
Mr Noonan said he hopes progress will be made at this week’s meeting of euro
zone finance ministers in Dublin, but insisted it was an “informal Ecofin”.
“There will certainly be discussions about the extension of maturities at the
meetings on Friday but the meeting on Friday is called the informal EcoFin and
at the informal ecofin while you can progress matters to the point of a
solution, you can’t take a formal decision because it’s informal, so whatever
happens or whatever progress is made on Friday, the formal decision won’t be
until the May Ecofin.”
While a formal decision cannot be made at Friday’s meeting, senior EU figures,
including economics and monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn, have
consistently indicated that the issue would be concluded at the April meeting.
As reported in The Irish Times last week, final agreement is now likely to be
Mr Noonan’s comments came as Portugal upped the pressure on Europe to sanction
the adjustment of the loans, ahead of Friday’s scheduled gathering. In a
televised address on Sunday evening, Portuguese prime minister Pedro Passos
Coelho said that agreement on an adjustment to the bailout loans was “decisive”
for the country.
But the European Commission said that “continued and determined implementation”
of the bailout programme was a “precondition” for a decision on the lengthening
of the loans.
“The commission supports that such a decision be taken soon,” it added in a
Portugal is likely to take centre stage at the meeting of euro zone finance
ministers following the rejection by the constitutional court of a series of
austerity measures proposed by the Government to meet its deficit reduction
The court’s decision has left Portugal searching for alternative ways to
generate €1.3 billion in savings, and thrown Portugal’s plan to return to the
markets by the end of the year into question, with Opposition leaders calling
for the government to resign.
While the court’s decision was not unexpected – it made a similar ruling last
year – the scale of the measures rejected took market watchers by surprise, with
the court rejecting proposed cuts to public sector pay and pensions as
Portugal has already implemented a range of austerity measures as part of its
€78 billion bailout programme, including steep tax rises and extra charges on
Its economy is struggling under the weight of unemployment, with the
unemployment rate expected to peak at almost 19 per cent by the end of this
year. Mr Coelho ruled out any further tax rises, indicating that the savings are
likely to come from the areas of health and education.
One of the two founders of the of the Blue Haven Food Company, Cormac
Fitzgerald, said he expects exports to thrive.
Friday’s meeting of euro zone finance ministers, which will be followed by a
meeting of all 27 European Union finance ministers, is the first since the
controversial Cypriot bailout.
The meeting, which will take place in Dublin Castle, will be used to showcase
Ireland’s technology industry and highlight Ireland as a destination for foreign
The Irish Times also reports that
Kerry Group’s directors took home pay worth more than €6 million last year,
according to the annual report.
Chief executive Stan McCarthy earned €1.8 million in 2011, but saw his pay
increase to €2.02 million last year.
His pay package was made up of €979,000 basic salary, €263,000 in pension
contributions, €65,000 benefits-in-kind and a performance-related bonus of
€722,000. His performance-related bonus was up by nearly 5 per cent on the 2011
figure of €689,000.
His deputy – chief financial officer Brian Mehigan – took home €980,000 last
year, including a performance related bonus of €327,000. His overall
remuneration package was €958,000 in 2011.
Flor Healy, chief executive of Kerry Foods, got €958,000 for the year, up from
€750,000 in 2011.
The fourth-top executive at Kerry Group is Gerry Behan, head of the group’s US
ingredients and flavours division, which accounts for a substantial part of
total group sales and earnings. He took home €1.3 million in 2012. His
remuneration package, up from the 2011 figure of €1.08 million, included a basic
salary of €605,000 and pension contributions of €170,000.
The four directors will see an average increase of 2.2 per cent in their 2013
basic pay. Last year the directors basic pay was increased by 1.5 per cent on
average in deference to inflation.
Chairman Denis Buckley was the best-paid non-executive director at the company
last year, receiving total payments of €209,000, unchanged since 2011.
The food ingredients company achieved string growth last year, increases in size
by more than 2.3 times from a value of €3.5 billion in 2008 to €8.2 billion at
the end of December 2012.
The company increased sales revenue by 10.3 per cent to €5.8 billion last year,
while trading profits climbed 10.8 per cent to €555 million.
The Irish Examiner reports that Kinsale’s Blue Haven Food Company has been selected by the Smurfit School of
Business and the Irish Exporters’ Association as a case study to develop its
business into the US market.
“We developed the Blue Haven Food Company a number of years ago, which is the
food manufacturing part of our business, and we feel that this will be probably
our biggest growth area for the next few years as agri-food, seafood and food
exports are a massive growth sector.”
The firm will launch in Boston in the next three months after receiving
intensive mentoring from the IEA and Smurfit School of Business.
Mr Fitzgerald said they could not have gone to the US without the support of the
likes of Musgrave, who helped the brand gain traction.
The inclusion of Blue Haven Food Company in the selection caps off a remarkable
turnaround for the company which is part of the Blue Haven Collection.
The Blue Haven Collection was served with a winding-up petition by Revenue
following a tax issue. The was resolved by an agreement between both parties
which resulted in 110 jobs being saved.
The company is now focused on becoming the leading supplier of quality seafood,
according to chief executive Tommy Doyle.
“Our vision is to become an international food brand, producing top-quality
niche seafood products for both the domestic and international market
underpinned by the world renowned Gourmet Capital of Ireland, Kinsale.”
The Blue Haven Food Company represents the pinnacle of the industry, having won
innovation awards in the food and beverage sector, Blás na hÉireann food awards,
and the UK Great Taste Award.
Check out our
, at a low annual charge of €25 - - if
you are a regular user of Finfacts, 50 euro cent a week is hardly a huge ask to
support the service.