Ann Fitzgerald: Political system is letting farmers down as TDs look after their own
What is the main job of a politician? To look after those in need? No. World peace? No, that's in beauty pageants. In the real world, a politician's priority - except for one-term positions - is to ensure their re-election.
Thus we saw very contrasting stances by two government ministers at different meetings last week.
A large crowd turned out to hear Agriculture Minister Michael Creed at the IFA's monthly county executive meeting in Portlaoise. Several suckler farmers expressed their fears about the collapse of the sector, but the minister maintained his long-held stance that existing supports are adequate.
"The €200 support payment (for suckler cows) is undeliverable; it would be dishonest of me to say that it was," he said. "I think the demise of the sector is a little exaggerated."
On my husband's return from Portlaoise, he said he had never seen morale as low in beef.
Meanwhile, Minister of Communications Denis Naughten was at another very well attended IFA meeting in Ballinasloe, in the heart of in his own constituency.
He said that "sucklers are the key to viability of rural Ireland" and "we need to ensure the sector's viability and long-term sustainability".
Maybe we need to look at the politics of the two Ministers to understand their differing views.