They say you can't have your cake and eat it too but the Irish beef industry is certainly trying.
They remain very pro-export, being the number one beef export supplier to the United Kingdom as well as persuing a strong international program of beef export expansion.
At the same time they are anti-imports into the European Union, given together with France, they have reportedly been the strongest opponents within the EU of increased access for Australian meat products as part of the free trade agreement negotiations between the two.
Now earlier this month Charlie McConalogue, the Irish Minister for Agriculture said he had secured a commitment from South Korean officials that they would progress Ireland's application for access for Irish beef into the South Korean market, one of Australia's largest export beef markets.
Korea is now arguably the fifth largest meat importer in the world. Part of the Irish sell to Korea is the image of the "clean and green" supplier to the world, to some extent appropriating Australia's mantle, believing they have overcome and rendered to history the dark days of mad cow disease.
In the politics of the EU's "green" approach to agriculture however, environmentalists in Ireland have questioned how an expansion of the beef export sector in the country, fits into Ireland's climate and environmental objectives. The vagaries of the international marketplace are always complex.
Business models change and evolve with changing markets, competition and technology.
The red meat industry has been no different where over the years since the Second World War, we have seen massive change in the meat processing and export sector in all facets of its operation, especially in response to changing export opportunities and requirements.
While most of those changes have been of great benefit to the Australian industry, a group of around 30 semi and fully retired executives from the meat processing and export sector met in Sydney last week to reconnect with the friendships forged so many years ago and reminisce about the speed of change.
One question raised was whether every change over the past 50 years had been for the better.
The Australian beef industry took off in the 1960s with the opening of the US beef import market. Mutton at the time was also a US quota item.
The competition was fierce but many felt that there was a sense of camaraderie among those involved. This was the Australian industry as a whole evolving and maturing in response to the emerging opportunities that were appearing in the international marketplace.
That sense of camaraderie was an integral part of the entrepreneurial spirit of those who processed Australian livestock and exported those meat products to a rapidly expanding list of new markets, the returns from which underpinned market values back home.
Most who were part of this era over the next 50 years tell you that it was a unique time.
Million dollar deals sealed by a handshake or a telephone call rarely failed. Your word was your bond.
Many outside the industry often wondered how meat processors and exporters could compete in the market but work so productively as a collective to take on the complex challenges globally.
The camaraderie of the export processing sector was legendary and most felt honoured to be part of it.
At the lunch last week in Sydney many of those players, now long retired, pondered whether the challenges of the international market of today had eroded to some extent those values of the past.
The advent of emails and the ability to more easliy communicate in real time electronically was a major benefit to the international trade in red meat. But at the same time some felt it also removed the need to constantly build and maintain the personal relationships that had been so critical to industry success in the earlier decades.
Technology has continued to evolve and with it changing values.
Some of the processing companies of that past era represented at the event by former staff included Anderson Meats, the Smorgan Group, Kerry Packers Consolidated Meat Group, Kilcoy Pastoral, Blue Ribbon from Tasmania, DR Johnston, Anvic who ran the beef export plant at Wingham, Amatil Playfair, TA Field and JC Huttons to name a few.
These companies provided the training ground for many later senior executives in the processing and export sector and fostered the values of the time.
The question remains: Has the demands of the international marketplace of today and the business model needed to maximise returns, also led to more independent thinking and operation.
Has this led to, if not forced a change to some of the industry practices that were so important in decades past?