I was struck by the use of language on two occasions recently. The first was when an RTÉ radio presenter introduced a segment on the nitrates derogation by describing it as a licence for Irish farmers to pollute waterways more than their European counterparts. The second was in the sales catalogue for a large dairy farm, which the agent describes as a modern “pollution-compliant” dairy unit.

It was George Orwell who noted: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

It could be a slippery slope if the industry allows essential nutrients to be described solely as potential pollutants without challenging it. Words matter. Language matters.