The Fine Gael agricultural conference was regarded by party insiders as a resounding success, with over 400 delegates packed into Tullamore.
The new agriculture forum’s elected chair Eddie Downey was backed by Helen McEntee, while Pat Deering received support from McEntee’s erstwhile Meath East running mate, Regina Doherty.
Downey won, although I understand it was close. No fewer than five ministers and five ministers of state were present.
Jennifer O’Carroll McNeill represented south Dublin in Tullamore (Leo being a northsider). Seán Kelly was the only MEP absent and his fellow former GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail was a member of a panel discussing rural development. Charlie Flanagan failed to make it up the road from Laois, and former agriculture minister Michael Creed was also absent.
At one stage, Richard Clinton of Dawn Meats referred to Eamon Corley as “Enda”. It could have been a slip of the tongue, as Edna Curley, the Mountbellew principal, was on the panel too. But she had just spoken of how people often expect her to be a man, seeing Enda rather than Edna, so perhaps not.