Success has many fathers, they say, and failure is an orphan. Like all such sayings, there is at least an element of truth in that.
Find someone in Limerick who isn’t claiming that they predicted greatness for Cian Lynch, Kyle Hayes and Gearoid Hegarty when they were still in nappies. In contrast, Dessie Farrell, who won the All-Ireland with Dublin last year, has few public backers.
There are inklings that no one in the Department of Agriculture is keen to claim authorship of the line in the proposed suckler scheme that would effectively cap the herd of any participants.
It’s hardly a surprise. The level of farmer anger is much higher over this measure than any potential cuts in direct payments that might ensue should the CAP reform proposals go through.
And that in itself is understandable. The CAP proposals are complex and contain so many variables that it’s not easy for farmers to clearly see the likely effect on their payment.
In contrast, the suckler scheme cap is a single issue, and an emotive one.
Added to that is the fact that the farm organisations were, they all say, blindsided by this little hand grenade. Having run through the details of the proposed suckler scheme at a stakeholder meeting back in May, they say they were given less than an hour to peruse the final document before it went public on a Friday evening on a bank holiday weekend. It’s no wonder this change slipped an initial appraisal of what was a meaty document.
Broke the story
The first many of the senior representatives of suckler farmers across the farm organisations knew of the proposed cap was when Darren Carty broke the story on the Irish Farmers Journal website.
It was a slow train coming, with understanding of the cow cap and anger around it building in advance of the meetings.
While the town hall meetings were a much more antiseptic atmosphere compared to a packed hotel room of farmers looking for answers, there still was heat.
It was Valerie Woods and Maria Dunne who fielded the contentious questions, and explained the context of the proposal. Of course, nobody was accusing either of them of being the author.
Now, rumblings are reaching my ears that it came from outside the Department altogether, perhaps from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. There’s no such thing as a free lunch where Paschal Donohoe is concerned, goes the narrative.
So if no one wants to own this baby, is it a failure already?