Thursday 22 February 2018

James Downey: It's not my field, but surely something can be done to help boost farming's productivity

James Downey

James Downey

PADDY Lane died this week, aged 77. He had had a varied career as a rugby player, Fianna Fail member of the European Parliament and president of the Irish Farmers' Association. Like all IFA leaders, he was a staunch defender of his members' interests.

He was an amiable and courteous person and he received me affably when I approached him to ask for enlightenment on a subject that interested me at the time, "headage" payments for cattle.

Urban dwellers, if they had ever heard of headage payments, assumed that all the money -- several hundred millions a year -- came from the European Union. In point of fact, a lot of the burden fell on Irish taxpayers.

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