Watch: 'They were there with baby Jesus when he was born' - Mattie McGrath's surreal Budget speech
In one of the more surreal exchanges of the budget debate on Tuesday TD Mattie McGrath launched a spirited defence of Animal Welfare Scheme which sees sheep getting an extra €10.
The Tipperary TD said the introduction of sheep grants were "very, very necessary".
Referring to Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan who was out of the chamber at the time Mr McGrath accused her of "talking about animal welfare and sheep were never mistreated".
He argued that sheep are attacked by dogs often and other animals.
"They can be mistreated by roving wild dogs. So, if Maureen is so interested in the hare, I would advise her to go and learn about the woollen animals as well and the little sheep and the innocent lambs.
"The most innocent of all lambs, they were there with baby Jesus when he was born so many centuries ago. We may get our fundamentals right there as well."
The grant was the subject of much humour on an otherwise subdued budget day in Dáil Eireann. One Deputy even bleated like a sheep when Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donoghue Announced the Animal Welfare scheme.