Watch: Another candidate emerges for Macra vice-president
By my count, there are now three people running for the position of Munster vice-president of Macra na Feirme.

While it is still a one-man race for the role of Macra na Feirme president, it seems there is now a third candidate for vice-president in Munster. Limerick dairy farmer John Cremin revealed his intentions to run for the position in an unusual manner.

He posted a teaser video on his Facebook page on Thursday night which had some members speculating that he was going to throw his name in the ring for president.

But he followed up with a video on Friday encouraging people to vote for him to become Munster vice-president.

Corkman Sean Wallace and Kerryman Trevor Coffey are the other two in the Munster race. There are four potential candidates in Leinster and two in the northwest.

Macra has one national president and three vice-presidents who are elected every two years.

No one is officially a candidate until they secure enough nominations from qualifying Macra clubs.

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One-man race for Macra president, but Leinster turns into game of transfers

The Big Dealer: Goodman’s mansion upgrades fall foul of council planners
Beef baron's new pool, lobbying Hogan, Lanigan's Ball at GII, suckler farmers' winning streak and more in The Big Dealer.

I see Louth County Council has paid close attention to upgrades to Braganstown House, home of beef baron Larry Goodman.

Planning is being sought for refurbishments to the mansion built in the late 18th century and purchased by the Goodman family in the 1970s.

The council issued an enforcement order last year to halt some of the work under way until permission was secured. Retention permission has now been applied for.

One of the most eye-catching parts of the redevelopment is a swimming pool planned for the basement. A lift is also planned to make the house more accessible. To facilitate the works, a protective over-roof structure, similar to a galvanised shed, has been built to cover the house.

Hogan is accused of Irish bias

I see a report by a group of activists has accused European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan of showing Irish bias.

The report flags Commissioner Hogan as one of five its says appear to have a bias towards lobby groups from their native countries.

Of the 102 encounters between Hogan and lobby groups since December 2014, 29 have been with Irish interests. Irish agriculture makes up the bulk of these. The IFA secured seven meetings,while Ibec, which lobbies on behalf of the meat industry, and the ICMSA secured four meetings each and ICOS had three meetings.

With Brexit looming, one might argue it is not unusual for the European Commissioner for Agriculture to regularly engage with the sector and country with the biggest exposure.

Lanigan’s Ball at Ornua meetings

I hear that the Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII) representatives at Ornua, Jim Bergin and Martin Keane, have had to step out of board meetings and hang around in the corridor when the sensitive issue of the US cheese market came up for discussion.

That is because their Truly Grass Fed cheese is now competing there with Ornua’s Kerrygold cheeses.

Ornua chair Aaron Forde puts out Bergin and Keane because he and his chief executive, John Jordan, don’t want the two, GII chief executive and chair respectively, learning Ornua’s prices, volumes and margins in the US and use this information to sell more GII cheese.

After the discussion, Forde allows the two step back in.

The GII men aren’t the only ones made stand in the corridor.

Lakeland’s Michael G Hanley also had to step outside on occasion because he sells dairy product in competition with Ornua.

One observer compared the meeting to the comical song Lanigan’s Ball.

Suckler farmers win €75,000

Fair play to the two suckler farmers, who took home €75,000 between them from their appearance on Winning Streak last weekend. Chris Tansey from Swinford, Co Mayo, and Tommy Durr from Ballinagard, Co Roscommon, won €42,000 and €33,000, respectively. Combined, that is six times more than the average suckler farm income. Remarkably, both men received Winning Streak scratchcards as gifts when they were discharged from hospital after having their hips replaced.

Chris Tansey and Tom Durr on Winning Streak.

Farmer candidate a must in Mallow

There was uproar in Mallow over Fine Gael’s recent selection convention for the May local elections. Nearly 250 people squeezed into the Hibernian Hotel and voted on five candidates.

Former Dairygold board member Donal Buckley was placed second. However, when it became clear that the top two would not automatically go forward because both were from “country” areas, there was some roaring and shouting.

In the end, the top candidate – country-based but not a farmer – and the highest of town candidates were put forward.

But the party knows it has to offer a farmer representative around Mallow, therefore expect Buckley to be added.

Angela Scanlon’s Kerrygold regrets

Billed as “Ireland’s other favourite export”, Irish BBC television presenter Angela Scanlon provided the celebrity draw at this week’s launch of Ornua’s new Kerrygold adverts targeting 36m viewers worldwide.

She also supplied The Dealer’s favourite quote from the event when asked for her immediate reaction after watching the videos, showing life and work on three real Irish dairy family farms.

“The first thing I thought was I regret I didn’t marry a farmer,” Scanlon said.

The Dealer is available.

Coughing up the cash on entry

It seems no preferential treatment was given to Kerry TDs Danny and Michael Healy-Rae at a recent Beef Plan Movement meeting in Castleisland mart. The men were charged the required €10 entry at the door, with Danny apparently having to fork out €50 for himself and his acolytes. The Healy-Raes weren’t alone, however, as I’m reliably informed that 361 farmers registered and paid €10 each on the night.

Commissioner Hogan accused of Irish bias
Of the 102 encounters between Hogan and lobby groups since December 2014, 29 have been with Irish interests.

I see a report by a group of activists has accused European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan of showing Irish bias.

The report flags Commissioner Hogan as one of five its says appear to have a bias towards lobby groups from their native countries.

Of the 102 encounters between Hogan and lobby groups since December 2014, 29 have been with Irish interests. Irish agriculture makes up the bulk of these. The IFA secured seven meetings,while Ibec, which lobbies on behalf of the meat industry, and the ICMSA secured four meetings each and ICOS had three meetings.

With Brexit looming, one might argue it is not unusual for the European Commissioner for Agriculture to regularly engage with the sector and country with the biggest exposure.

Coughing up the cash
The Dealer’s ears twitched when he heard that a certain politician had to pay into a Beef Plan Movement meeting.

It seems no preferential treatment was given to Kerry TDs Danny and Michael Healy-Rae at a recent Beef Plan Movement meeting in Castleisland mart.

The men were charged the required €10 entry at the door, with Danny apparently having to fork out €50 for himself and his acolytes.

The Healy-Raes weren’t alone, however, as I’m reliably informed that 361 farmers registered and paid €10 each on the night.

Read more

Punch and Judy show at the ICSA agm

Beef plan seeks name for suckler beef brand