THE Agriculture Minister shied away like a roped steer. He had just unhesitatingly insisted that he would happily scoff a frozen burger, now that the equine-filled offenders – all 10 million of them – have been promptly consigned to the knacker's yard.
Simon said he "certainly would". Not a bother on him. But it was a horse of an entirely different colour when it came to chowing down on a sirloin of Shergar. The pained expression suggested that he'd be more likely to take a knife and fork to Bambi.
"I'm not comfortable eating horse meat, like lots of other people aren't," he confided.
There was no getting away from geegeegate (or Simon Coveney, for that matter) as politicians, farmers and food folk all galloped to the defence of the beleaguered beefburger business.
There was a stampede to assure everyone that eating horse-burgers isn't a health risk (it's not like they'll give you the, ahem, trots, or anything).
But it was still an alarming development, given that the country's beef export market rakes in about €2bn a year.
In the first Leader's Questions since the Christmas holliers, Micheal Martin gravely told the Tanaiste: "We need nothing less than 100pc transparency on this issue."
The Tanaiste was in agreement. "People should know, and have a right to know, what they are eating and the content of processed food in particular," he concurred.
Eamon attempted to rein in any potential panic, explaining that out of the 31 beef products tested, only one showed sky-high levels of horse. But 23 turned up what he described as "trace or very low levels of porcine DNA".
Oh woe. Pigs would fly before anyone would unknowingly eat a Babe-burger.
But all day Simon Coveney cantered from one microphone to the other to soothe skittish beef buyers. In fairness, he had many answers, but there are still a fair few questions left as to who horsed equine bits into the burger mix.
Simon was bullish, but these are tricky times with billions at stake.
So a word to the wise – if you pass him on the street, please forbear from enquiring: "Why the long face?"
You'll likely be told to buck right off.