Opinion: Walsh's offensive farmer-baiting comments made me lose my rag
I had intended to dedicate this column to the achievements of Ireland's women's hockey team but I have put it off for a week to respond to Ted Walsh's comments on farmers and ragwort, which I consider to be totally unacceptable.
The dual Grand National-winning trainer and former champion amateur jockey is a long-time member of RTÉ's racing commentary panel and renowned for his fast tongue and sharp wit.
As such, as part of a light-hearted #AskTed segment, he is quick-fired questions about everything from his favourite takeaway to his opinion of Love Island.
Down through the years, he has provided plenty of entertainment, but his reply to a question during the coverage of Galway Races about ragwort included the following:
"Coming down the fields there, and looking in at the ragwort, I think it's an absolute disgrace… the county councils should be shot and the dirty farmers that let it grow up around them... shoot them as well. Shoot the whole lot of them."
I was stunned at what he'd said. And there was not a word of dissent from anyone else on the panel.
RTÉ Racing put the segment up on its Twitter feed, where there was some negative reaction but, for the most part, it was laughed off.
I accept there is merit to what Ted said: ragwort does not look pretty and can be dangerous if eaten (though this rarely happens when it is standing).