Old ideas in a changing world: Farming bubble rejects change

We all, to one degree or another, live in a bubble where certain ideas are unchallengeable. 

This can offer reassurance and the comforts of inclusion. 

It can also be dangerous, especially if other perspectives or developments are not recognised. 

A blinkered vulnerability can be exacerbated in echo chambers where a single, biased worldview prevails.

There was an example of this in Cork yesterday when Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was heckled by an IFA protest. 

He was met by chants of “where’s the beef, ye vegan?” 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meets IFA leader Joe Healy and members protesting outside Cork City Hall where a Government Cabinet Meeting was taking place Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meets IFA leader Joe Healy and members protesting outside Cork City Hall where a Government Cabinet Meeting was taking place Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Apart from the inaccuracy — Mr Varadkar is not a vegan — the protest over the undoubted challenges faced by the beef sector suggest that the farm sector imagines itself immune to changing imperatives and that it, once again, expects preferential treatment, in this instance over Brexit. 

Some weeks ago this expectation led to protests over the fair deal scheme for nursing home care. 

Last year it was behind the demand that the Government — the taxpayer — should help resolve the winter fodder crisis faced by private, well-subsidised businesses.

The farm lobby has been one of the most powerful in this country but life-defining change, everything from European taxpayers growing reluctance to fund a cause climate change to the price of building land, challenge that position. 

That the farm lobby would probably reject these suggestions just shows how dangerously impenetrable that bubble is. 

That is a pity as change is inevitable in every sphere of life.

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