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