Posted on 18th January 2021

Slane Castle

Just when I wanted to relax over the Christmas break a most unsettling matter has bubbled to the surface.  Have you wondered why the USA and the UK are already vaccinating their populations whilst we have to wait until later ?  Does our government not understand that delays cost lives.  I for one have complete faith in the UK Regulatory Authorities, and the FDA in the States is exceedingly cautious.  So has the government questioned the process ?  Maybe they should have.  A shocking article has now appeared in Der Spiegel which stated that there is currently a vaccine shortage in Europe because the Commission wanted to achieve parity between the German firm BioNTech and the French firm Sanofi.  The French vaccine trial has not gone well and it is unlikely to be available to roll out until the latter half of 2021.  If it transpires that this is true, it is a most serious matter as it would suggest that the Commission has favoured the commercial interests of a French company over the health, and possibly lives, of its citizens.  In the meantime, as an individual who has been in self-isolation since March I wonder whether I will end up spending a year in this position because the prospective roll-out here has yet to inspire me otherwise.

Well Thank God for the good news on a Trade Deal at last.  I held out hope because the alternative would have been such a catastrophe that it was hard to believe that those responsible would allow it to happen.  Hopefully now we can repair our relationship with our nearest neighbour.  Ironically when the UK was in the EU it often had the Republic’s back and I was reminded yesterday that they lent us substantial funds during the financial crisis.  We have so many links and friends and families living there.  My first job was in London and my eldest son was born in St. Mary’s, Paddington.  I went to work every day on the Tube and returned home every evening with the Evening Standard in my hand.  Yes, the mists of the Boyne Valley have seeped into the crevices of my soul but I retain many links to the UK.  Somehow it seemed inconceivable that we would as a nation find ourselves so separated from such a critical trading partner.  However, and most importantly, the Agri-food sector can heave a sigh of relief, and for beef farmers in particular they can contemplate survival.  The fishermen from Killybegs may need assistance but the nation as a whole is in a better place.  For business, no tariffs, no quotas, but a pile of extra paperwork.  For the Chief Negotiators Michel Barnier and Lord Foster a well-earned rest.

We can look forward to 2021 with a greater sense of optimism but the chief priority for government is to get vaccines to its citizens as rapidly as possible.  If the EU is impeding progress they must question their policies.  Time saved saves lives.

Published: 26/12/2020

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