New book traces 40 years of farm relief services in Ireland

Diversification of FRS into other business areas is also explored
New book traces 40 years of farm relief services in Ireland

Chairman FRS Network, Francis Fitzgerald; Production Team Member, Sharon Mulrooney; Production Team Member, Valerie Bourke; Group CEO FRS Network, Peter Byrne; Production Team Member, Jane Marks; and Vice Chairman FRS Network, Tim Maher at the book launch. File Picture. 

A new book setting out the history and story of the Farm Relief Services (FRS) over the last 40 years has been launched.

The book entitled ‘From Farm Relief Services to FRS Network’ is written by FRS CEO Peter Byrne and traces the foundations of FRS and how it grew into a major social enterprise co-operative that employs 2,000 across Ireland with an annual turnover circa €100m.

The book outlines Macra na Feirme’s involvement in setting up relief milking groups and the research conducted into farm relief services overseas that played their part in getting FRS off the ground in 1980.

It goes on to focus on the many new and innovative services introduced to Ireland by FRS, such as hoof care, the first sheep and cow scanning services, freeze branding, machinery rings and the waste farm plastic collection service.

It also highlights the development of other services and schemes to support farmers, including the creation of the Farmers Accident and Sickness Scheme (FASS) and the Members Benefit Scheme (MBS).

Diversification

The diversification of FRS into other business areas is also traced in the book, with the development of FRS Fencing, FRS Recruitment, FRS Training, Herdwatch, Turas Nua and FRS Business Services.

While the role of FRS in the community and across a range of different events is also featured, the co-operative ethos and values are highlighted including the key role played by the board of management over the years.

Speaking at the launch of the book at the company’s offices in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, NCFRS Chairman Francis Fitzgerald said he knew Mr Byrne was the person to write the book.  

He highlighted how the author had been at the helm of the organisation from the very start.

“Peter has such high integrity, leadership and forthright.

“He has given his all to FRS over the years and has done likewise with the book.

“Having read the articles by many contributors it is clear to me that everyone has great pride and delight at what has been achieved in the past forty years.

“The book is a history of FRS and a legacy to Peter.” 

Team spirit

Mr Byrne, meanwhile, said the team spirit at FRS was at the heart of the publication.

“One of the things that I wanted to do with the book was to make it a team effort,” he continued.

“The book includes a compilation of stories that were written by various staff members, current staff members, former staff members, and former committee and board members.

"People who were involved in the setting up of local offices and local farm relief groups right throughout the country were also involved.

“We put all of those stories together into one book and that is very much the way we wanted it because FRS wouldn’t be where it is today without being a team effort.

“It’s the history of all those people and that’s what we wanted to record in the book.

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