‘Where’s the beef? – rebellious farmers round on ‘vegan Leo the lamb’ as ministers have away-day
THE ministerial road-trip all began so well.
Beaming Cabinet members featured in a video posted online by Culture Minister Josepha Madigan from the bus.
She said she was wearing red especially for the trip to Cork, while Agriculture Minister Michael Creed chipped in: “Up the rebels.”
He may have regretted those words when they arrived to the “real capital” and found that hundreds of farmers had laid siege to City Hall.
Tractors were doing circuits of the block, as well as an electronic billboard of Fianna Fáil European election candidate Billy Kelleher.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was greeted with heckles of “where’s the beef, ye vegan”. Farmers hadn’t forgotten his remarks earlier this year that he was cutting down on meat to reduce his carbon footprint. Comments that had gone down like a lead balloon among those in the beef sector suffering the effects of low prices amid fears of a looming Brexit.
If some ministers were rattled, it wasn’t the case with Finian McGrath, who was pictured posing with a live bull that had been brought along for the occasion. That’s despite the sign in the background that read “Leo the lamb, where is the money for our beef?”
Irish Farmers’ Association president Joe Healy took his opportunity to confront Mr Varadkar, telling him farmers wanted a “clear message” from ministers on the help they were going to offer. Mr Varadkar replied that the Government wanted to do more for beef farmers, but also said they already received far more support than other businesses.