The opposition to the Mercosur deal is growing in Ireland, with last week’s Beef Plan Movement-led protest, sending a strong message to Government. Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said in response that “no stone should be left unturned” to protect farmers. Would that include using a veto, should Ireland have one, even if that meant standing alone among the EU-27? I’m not mentioning the B word.

European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has claimed the deal was an improvement on the 2004 version, which proposed a 200,000t beef quota. Apart from the fact that opening quotas are always set high to be negotiated down, the Commissioner is comparing apples with oranges.