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Opinion: when opportunity knocks, perhaps you should open the door
Pat O'Toole
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil seem to have dismissed the prospect of a summer election, but it might be their best chance of being returned to power.
2 June 2024 l2
How the European Commission, Parliament and Council work
Pat O'Toole takes a look at the three stools of Brussels - the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
29 May 2024 l2
The different parties of the European Parliament
The European Parliament has its own party groupings and an extensive committee structure. Here's a quick guide to its workings.
Opinion: following in TJ Maher's footsteps is a daunting challenge
The first direct elections to the European Parliament saw TJ Maher dominate the Munster poll, beginning a 15-year career for the former IFA president.
18 May 2024 Opinion
Opinion: takeaways from the IFA hustings
With a dozen contenders at each of the IFA's four European election hustings, Pat O'Toole was left with plenty to ponder.
11 May 2024 Opinion
Opinion: contractors will need understanding when the weather finally arrives
A week in the life of a tillage farmer/journalist that was as varied as the weather.
14 April 2024 Opinion
Opinion: inspections protocol is an important breakthrough
Reading the protocol for farm inspections agreed in Wexford has given Pat O'Toole heart - and flashbacks.
16 March 2024 Opinion
Opinion: the birds are singing a different tune to some politicians
While some would have hedge-cutting contractors believe there should be an extension for hedge trimming into March and August, the birds are whistling a different message for Pat O'Toole.
9 March 2024 Opinion
Opinion: four days can be a long time in the world of farming red tape
The new requirement to report all slurry exports within four days followed within four days of a ministerial commitment to minimise red tape.
2 March 2024 Opinion
Opinion: farmers need the truth, but they also need hope
The presentations by Elaine McGoff and Eddie Burgess were interesting in themselves. Taken together, they present a good range of opinion on exactly where farming and water quality intersect.
24 February 2024 Opinion
Opinion: the irresistible force versus the immovable object
While the European Commission is an all-powerful machine at the heart of the EU, used to telling everyone what to do, farmers are now telling them to take a step back.
18 February 2024 Opinion
Opinion: farmers' fellowship of the ring-roads sends clear message
While the slogan of Thursday's IFA tractor demonstration was 'enough is enough', it was the Boomtown Rats, not Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand in Pat O'Toole's head.
3 February 2024 Opinion