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Saturday 24 March 2018

Minister 'resigns from the chicken debate' after online poultry squawk

Aodhán Ó Riordan
Aodhán Ó Riordan
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Riordáin has deleted comments he made online complaining about food from Northern Ireland being labelled as 'Irish'.

The Minister of State told his 15,000 followers that he had 'resigned from the chicken debate' after he sparked an onslaught of criticism on social media network Twitter.

Tweet from Aodhan O Riordan
Tweet from Aodhan O Riordan

"I have a big issue with branding in Tesco. Only one of these 'Irish' products benefits our economy," the minister wrote yesterday.

The minister included three photographs of chicken products from the supermarket chain in the online post. Two of the chicken products had been sourced from farms in the North and displayed the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Mark.

Fellow Labour TD Sean Sherlock replied, saying he was 'sure there's little [difference] between a Tyrone chicken and a Monaghan one'.

The Mayor of Belfast Niall O'Donghaille also entered the debate, writing: "Maybe the government minister doesn't see me as equally Irish, despite my label (i.e. Passport)?.... [should I] just return my passport to you, seeing as I don't benefit 'your' economy and all?"

Ó Riordáin has since deleted his original comment from his Twitter page and told Sherlock he was 'resigning from the chicken debate'.

His comments come as Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and his Northern Ireland counterpart Michelle O'Neill are set to discuss the issue of an 'Island of Ireland' food label.

The Irish agriculture sector are currently attempting to find a solution to new EU labeling regulations which could require food to have a 'State of Origin' label.

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