The 2023 protest season opened with about 200 at the gates of Leinster House last Thursday, demanding an end to Coillte’s €200m deal with UK investment firm Gresham House.

Rural activists and farmers rubbed shoulders with eco-warriors as a rainbow of opposition politicians shared a microphone to condemn Charlie McConalogue and the Government. It’s not often that An Taisce and the rural Ireland organisations have common ground, but the forests and future forests that will be owned by the alliance of the State-owned business and the British asset management firm has been triggering.

Richard Boyd-Barrett and Ivana Bacik shared the microphone with rural independents.

Sinn Féin, the Social Democrats and Aontú also had their say.

No one seemed to notice that across the street, the chief object of their ire Charlie McConalogue could clearly be seen through Buswells’ window, where he was attending a meeting on behalf of Government. Perhaps they were distracted by the protest at the other side of the gates to Leinster House, which seemed to be in support of Enoch Burke.

Nobody mentioned turf on the day. Just as well, that may have caused the most Irish of occurrences, the split.