Minster for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has led a charmed life during his first year in office. He managed to time his run perfectly on CAP. The outcome of this reform was largely determined in Brussels prior to his appointment. This has allowed him spend the last year in consultative mode without having to take responsibility for the outcome and – more importantly – without having to make unpopular policy decisions.

It has been similar with climate change, with the ongoing deliberations of the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) on setting national emissions targets again buying the minister time before having to make the tough decisions in relation to emission reductions in agriculture.