The Dealer has been to a few MEP election hustings at this stage and there are a number of metrics to rate each outing.

Number of MEP hopefuls that you can fit at one table – the winner here goes to the IFA event in Mullingar, coming in at an impressive 14.

Speed at which a high stool can be procured for a last-minute arrival – the honours go to an IFA event again, this time in Fermoy.

The collegiate award for candidates helping candidates –Eddie Punch takes first place here for offering inter-county transport to a temporarily stranded Lorna Bogue.

Nibbles provided by the host – there was no competition here, with the small community of Duhill in Co Tipperary pulling out all the stops. No fewer than three main courses, five desserts and a selection of salads were on offer to guests who heard from Eddie Punch, Graham De Barra and Derek Blighe.

Michael McNamara missed the grub and the hustings but sent his MEP alternative (should he get elected and have to vacate his seat), Mattie McGrath’s daughter Máirín to make his apologies.

A close second on the culinary front, by dint of having fewer courses, was the Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Ireland panel last week.

Eddie Punch, Pauline O’Reilly and Billy Kelleher debated at the guild’s AGM, which took place at the Heritage Hotel in Co Laois.