Sunday’s Ireland v France rugby match afforded a chance for Taoiseach @campaignforleo and @simoncoveney to meet @MichelBarnier in a social setting.
Who, you ask? That’s the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, and the EU’s Brexit negotiator by their Twitter handles. Coveney’s adviser Chris Donoghue tweeted a photograph of the three men in a party of five heading towards the Aviva Stadium.
One of the first to respond was former Irish Times environment correspondent Frank McDonald, who said “btw [by the way] the unidentified figure beside Leo is his partner Matthew Barrett”.
Except it wasn’t. Frank had mistaken the IFA president Joe Healy for the Dublin surgeon who is the Taoiseach’s partner.
The same photograph caused a second kerfuffle the next day it was carried on the front page of both the Irish Independent and the Irish Times, with one significant difference.
Remember when I said it was a party of five?
Well, the fifth person was French farming leader Christiane Lambert. The Irish Times included her in the photograph, but the Independent cropped her out, leading to a further Twitter storm alleging sexism.
Perhaps Christiane will have picked up one tip from her Irish counterpart, Healy. If you are photographed with more famous people, make sure you’re in the middle.
Christiane Lambert, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Joe Healy, Michel Barnier and Tanaiste Simon Coveney on the way to the Ireland-France rugby game. \ Chris Donoghue/Twitter
Creed off to Spain and Portugal for Paddy’s Day
The Minister for Agriculture is jetting off to Spain and Portugal for St Patrick’s Day this year.
He will be accompanied by Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy.The focus of the five-day trip will be beef, livestock and seafood.
They will be meeting importers including Grupo Mozos and Claramar in Spain, Portuguese retailer Pingo Doce, and Spanish retailer Mercadona. They will also participate at the St Patrick’s Day trade reception at the Irish embassy in Madrid.
There has been a slight change to his itinerary – he will be going to Brussels on Monday for a council of ministers meeting.
Minister Michael Creed. \ Philip Doyle
I see Teagasc is recruiting for a new national panel of agricultural development officers.
Successful applicants will fill temporary and permanent vacancies in the area of advisory, education and training.
An agricultural development officer attracts a starting salary of €33,387. Potential candidates must jump through multiple hoops, including initial screening, online cognitive testing and technical multiple choice assessments before reaching the interview stage in June.
The closing date for applications is Monday 25 March, with the panel to be in place by 3 July 2019.
Bord Bia has over 100 events planned in connection with St Patrick’s Day festivities around the world and is the main sponsor for the Mayor of London St Patrick’s Day parade, 12 days out from the Brexit deadline of 29 March.
Sticking to the mart instead of the track
It is with great sadness I announce an end to my brief career as a horse racing tipster. I had a poor showing at Cheltenham this week. My biggest fancy, Singlefarmpayment, finished last on Tuesday. Hopefully that’s not a sign of things to come in CAP.
Another horse, Ornua, who also ran on Tuesday, fell. With the PPI holding steady, the real Ornua has shown better form in 2019 to date. My last hope, Thistlecrack will run on Friday. Named after a 30-acre field on a farm in England. I’m hoping I don’t get stung on this one too.
Focus on water quality for Department panel
The Dealer was intrigued to hear that environment and water quality were the hot topics of recent interviews for the Department of Agriculture inspector panel. Candidates were grilled on their knowledge of nitrogen and phosphorus management, as well as the Agricultural Catchments Programme.
With the nitrates programme review looming large on the horizon, the Department’s focus on environmental management has ramped up in the last year.
Gahan goes for the council
The IFA is losing another to party politics. Vice chair of the farm business committee Edel Gahan is stepping down both from that role and as Co Wexford vice-chair to contest the county council election in the Kilmuckridge district for Fine Gael. Her counterpart on the environment committee, Pat Gilhooley of Leitrim, must also step away under the association’s rules, as he seeks a seat for Sinn Féin in Leitrim.
Bid ‘em high at Limerick auction
In-calf pedigree Friesian heifers, a Hereford bull and a five-star Simmental bull calf are just some of the prizes on offer at a charity auction in the Devon Inn in Co Limerick this Friday night, 15 March, at 9pm.
Tickets are €10 and The Dealer reckons it could be the best-value heifer you’ve ever bought. All proceeds will go to support cancer charities.