Varadkar dines out on steak amid beef backlash
Farming groups and Opposition TDs have reacted furiously to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's remarks that he's eating less meat to reduce his carbon footprint.
Mr Varadkar's comments have been described as "reckless in the extreme", "flippant" and "hurtful" at a time when farmers are threatened by Brexit.
The Taoiseach last night stood by the remarks he made on Monday and said he had a "very nice Hereford steak" hours after he made them.
Independent.ie can reveal that he took Fine Gael colleagues to an upmarket Dublin restaurant specialising in steaks that evening.
Mr Varadkar also told the Dáil that he's trying to eat less red meat for two reasons - health and climate change.
In the face of heavy Opposition criticism, he said: "It's not flippant. It is a fact that red meat increases instance of cancer and also contributes more to climate change."
Mr Varadkar's initial comments came at Fine Gael's parliamentary party meeting where he said tackling climate change is the "next big progressive cause" the party wants to champion.
It prompted a wave of criticism from farmers groups, with Irish Cattle and Sheep Association president Patrick Kent saying they were "reckless in the extreme".