New rules are 20 miles of utter bureaucratic madness
There's a tale told of a truck driver delivering a load of gravel in west Limerick. The poor man got lost in a maze of back roads and felt he was being driven around in circles by the often contradictory advice he received from well-meaning locals.
Eventually, he saw an old man strolling down the road and he stopped and enquired one last time for directions to his elusive destination.
"The farm you're looking for is just half a mile that way as the crow flies," the old man said as he pointed over the hedge.
"That's great," replied the exasperated truck driver, "but what would the crow do if it was driving a Hino."
Last week's debacle with the 20-mile rule for livestock farmers brought that particular story to mind.
Arguments about whether the new rules should be implemented on a straight-line-on-the-map basis or according to the twists and turns of our country roads will surely be lurking in the long grass if this particular piece of bureaucratic madness gets the green light.
Will a farmer in Tarbert, north Kerry, be allowed to take land around Killimer in west Clare, since its just five miles or six miles across the Shannon estuary, or will the distance by road necessitate him having to get a second herd number?
Such cases may seem daft, but this is the sort of stuff that could arise.