So Big Phil has got the big job as Farm Commissioner, subject to his little chat with members of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee at the end of this month.

First off, heartiest congratulations to him. But, in the same breath, could I issue a word of warning to those Irish MEPs who currently hold down seats on the aforementioned committee. Rumour has it that some of these politicians might want to make their ‘job interview’ opportunity with the new Farm Commissioner-in-waiting as their day to flag up his domestic ministerial record on issues such as the introduction of water charges.

This type of show boating would, in my opinion, constitute the biggest mistake of their political careers. At one level it would show them up as being very insular in their approach to European issues. And in the second instance it would flag up a high level of disharmony within Ireland’s representation at the very heart of the EU decision making machine.

Both of these scenarios tick all the wrong boxes with the real power brokers in Brussels. Let me put it this way: if I was an Ag Committee MEP from Lativia and had to listen to a rant from Luke Ming or A N Other from Ireland about Phil Hogan’s poor track record (supposed) in his previous job, the urge to leave the building immediately would be very strong.

The appointment of Phil Hogan as Agriculture Commissioner represents a Blue Chip day for Irish farming. The last thing we need is for ‘Ireland Inc’ to shoot itself in the foot courtesy of grand standing activities dreamt up of our elected representatives in Brussels.

Pat Cox, a former President of the European Parliament, was interviewed on Morning Ireland. When asked about Phil Hogan’s value to Irish agriculture, he made it quite clear that the Kilkenny man would be in a position to guide our farming leaders in the direction of all the appropriate ‘emergency budgets ‘, should the need arise. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me and absolutely rules out the need for Ireland’s MEPs to air our dirty washing on a truly international stage.