Eamon Ryan, the whipping boy from rural Ireland, has an integrity most so-called farmer friends lack

In recent years we have seen a lack of honest debate and political accountability in countries that were once considered politically stable.

Look at Donald Trump in the US or the Brexit debate in the UK, where half-truths and lies reigned supreme.

Promises of global trade deals and a better deal with Europe have been made that have proved unachievable.

British farmers have been led to believe that Brussels is the source of all their hated bureaucracy and that if they export their produce around the world they could return to a post-Brexit utopia of unregulated farming and sky-high prices. All of this was a lie.

Still, no politician has been blamed for misinforming the public

This method of campaigning brought Boris Johnson and Trump to power when most level-headed observers could see that they were not honest about what they promised.

Politics here in Ireland faces similar problems. Opposition parties say their role is to hold the government accountable, but their constant criticism gives the false impression that the country is falling apart.

The success of this style of opposition is causing problems for the backbenchers in the governing parties. Will they vote for government proposals that could lead to angry voters, or risk losing the party stick?

There is always someone else to blame, and anything to do with the environment is seen as the fault of Eamon Ryan and his Green Party.

This was evident in the discussions about reducing emissions from agriculture.

There has been a reluctance on the part of the government to speak honestly and clearly to farmers about what is needed to reduce emissions, as this would give the opposition and independent TDs a free hand.

Of course, opposition TDs have been silent on the issue and appear to have no real alternative policies to reduce agricultural emissions or how such changes could be financed.

It seems Eamon Ryan is more interested in pushing environmental reforms than doing well in opinion polls or worrying about how many Greens will be elected next time.

Many politicians think this is naïve, but the smallest party in coalition governments always bears the brunt of election dissatisfaction anyway.

Perhaps if fewer ministers cared about re-election, long-term political planning could happen more frequently.

Agricultural representation follows a similar path, ignoring long-term policymaking in the interest of short-term gains.

The hunger for elections to higher office often limits the desire for long-term planning, which can end up costing valuable votes.

In recent years, the talking point in political circles has been the fragmentation of agricultural policy, with big promises and simple solutions being offered to improve the lot of Irish farmers, while long-term strategies for the CAP and environmental challenges are lacking.

Elected farm leaders shouldn’t act like mini-politicians. You should be able to deal with anyone in government or on the other side of the table.

It will be interesting to see over the next few weeks whether the farmorgs used the Dáil’s summer break to analyze their own performances.

Even at this late stage, it is important for agriculture to come up with a clear, well-researched, well-thought-out and calculated plan.

Resisting everything without an alternative plan is like trying to stem the tide. With every segment of society making expensive demands on the government for the September 2023 budget, farmers cannot afford any more mistakes from farming organizations.

Will the Farm Orgs return to the field with a new game plan for the second half? Or will they continue with the same failed strategy that saw them completely outplayed by the government in the first half?

Angus Woods is a drywall builder in Co Wicklow

https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/comment/theres-an-integrity-to-rural-irelands-whipping-boy-eamon-ryan-thats-lacking-in-most-so-called-farmers-friends-41945236.html Eamon Ryan, the whipping boy from rural Ireland, has an integrity most so-called farmer friends lack

Fry Electronics Team

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