'Culchies like myself knew that this TJ Gormley was on to something' - Darragh McCullough on furore over Late Late lamb
The furore over Dynamo, the lamb that appeared on the Late Late Show last Friday, is a classic. The Twitter machine went into overdrive.
“Absolutely appalling treatment of a lamb tonight on the #latelate animal restraint obviously terrified while crowd laugh on. Shame!” bellowed the National Animal Rights Association.
“Just switched on #latelate and am Horrifed at cruelty to poor animals,” said Dub Angela Rainsford.
It was all over the demonstration of a new lamb-handling crate by a Galway-based engineering firm that was part of an innovation slot on the programme.
To be fair to non-farming folk, what else were they to think? A bewildered looking lamb sat in semi-crucifixion pose for a few minutes while the crate’s inventor TJ Gormley tried to explain to Ryan Tubridy the idea behind it. Poor Ryan could barely bring himself to look at the lamb during the entire demo.
“The poor fella, the eyes are rolling in his head…he’s every right to...” gasped Tubs, who appeared to be caught in a moment when he didn’t know whether he should be milking this bit of odd entertainment or appalled by it. And the uneasiness transferred to the viewers.
Of course culchies like myself knew that this TJ Gormley was on to something. Remember the last time we had an agri-inventor from the west on the Late Late? John Concannon from Tuam came on with Gaybo back in the 1990s to show off a bucket with a nipple on it to allow farmers to feed calves easier. It was TV gold, but it was also a brilliant idea that turned Concannon’s company into the multi-million euro operation it is today.
This time, Gormley has figured out a way to help sheep farmers struggling with those potentially bloody jobs of tagging and tail-ringing. Bear in mind that the average age of farmers is well over 60, and consider then the task of piercing a squirming lamb’s ear with your semi-arthritic hands, and you’ll realise why this lamb crate will be a godsend for sheep farmers everywhere, not just in Ireland.
Really the only case to be answered is whether RTE should have hauled five-day-old lambs into a strange noisy environment under the glare of studio lights. People, let alone baby animals, find the experience of being filmed in front of a live audience for Ireland’s biggest chat show a pretty scary experience. But they get over it, and going by the photos up on Twitter today, Dynamo has survived his Late Late Show debut too, complete with a new set of ear-tags.