Let’s have level playing field - Call for support farm sector

FOR generations we accepted the authority of institutions that have not survived scrutiny.

In the old gods’ time, it was believed banks existed to help people, that the Catholic hierarchy was the infallible authority, and that gardaí were trustworthy.

Not even the most ardent champions of those organisations would defend those positions today.

Too much has changed, too much has been exposed and understood. Achieving that understanding was often painful, so maybe it’s time to continue that process and focus on another of the beliefs that has assumed the weight of a reality, one that can hardly be challenged or even tested rigorously.

The latest example of that sacred cow — that the farm sector should get preferential treatment — came to light yesterday when Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin demanded the Government — the taxpayer — provide cheap loans to protect the agri-food industry from the ravages of Brexit.

Another is that the attorney general is to review a proposal on fair-deal funding for nursing home care because he suspects it may give an unfair advantage to farm families.

It is not so long since even asking this question might be regarded as treasonable — it probably still is in some quarters — but in a changing world the farm sector is not the only one facing huge challenges. It is time for one of those root-and-branch appraisals so these concerns can be dismissed as urban legend or confronted as featherbedding.


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