Trevor Sargent was in Kilkenny yesterday.
The junior minister for food and horticulture spent his day handing out postcards at the Ploughing Championship, in response to complaints from farmers about food labelling regulations.
The postcards, addressed to the EU consumer commissioner, carried a simple message: ‘We need to know where our food comes from’.
Farmers complain that imported food can be labelled as Irish if it is processed in this country, giving misleading information about production and food safety standards.
The trouble is, postcard campaigns are the kind of thing that pressure groups and lobbyists do in order to persuade those in power that a regulation is unfair.
Sargent doesn’t seem to have realised he’s not in opposition any more.
Perhaps, having promised he would not lead his party into government with Fianna Fáil, then resigning after the deal was sealed but before the government was appointed, Sargent has forgotten which side of the fence he sits on.
As a minister – even in the junior ranks – he has the power to amend Irish law, and to make direct representations in Brussels to change European law.
Repeat after me Trevor: I am the minister. I have the power to change laws.