Saturday 21 September 2019

Brendan O'Connor: 'Quick! To the Kimberley aisle!'

Lyons tea
Lyons tea
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

So it seems that Tory politician Priti Patel threatened to inflict another famine on us last week. This would obviously be a fairly appalling thing to say to a country that was once decimated by famine. But in fact, Patel didn't threaten us with another famine.

She merely noted that a report suggested there might be food shortages here post-Brexit, and that perhaps this should have been pointed out in negotiations by Britain.

But in the age of offence, we didn't let that nuance get in our way. The easily offended, sensitive snowflakes of Sinn Fein were obviously first out of the traps. Mary Lou McDonald said it was insensitive, and suggested that someone should buy Priti a book on 19th Century Irish history. Which does make you think, in fairness, that while that person is at the bookshop, they should get Mary Lou a book on 20th and 21st Century Irish history. And if Sinn Fein are so appalled by Patel and the Tories, why don't they take their seats in the UK parliament and say it to their faces?

Phil Hogan went one step further by actually explicitly threatening Britain with a famine, saying that if Patel "wants to implement a policy that pushes for the starvation of the British people, then this is a good way to go about it".

The Taoiseach assured us that there would be no food shortages, because Ireland produces far more food than we eat. Which is true enough. But without imported food, our diet would certainly become more limited. For people like the Taoiseach, there'd be no olive oil, avocados, quinoa, or indeed oranges for freshly squeezed juice. Brunch, as an industry, would be wiped out overnight, or, more accurately, mid-morning.

Worse again, there would be no coffee. What would people walk around purposefully thrusting in front of them in giant virtue-signalling keepcups? Luckily the millennials are robust and resilient and not easily upset, so they'd weather the no-coffee-or-brunch storm.

But what's the problem anyway?

We may not have fancy foreign food but we could still survive on great Irish food like Lyons teabags, Fruitfield Irish marmalade, Siucra, HB Hazelbrook Farm ice cream, Gateaux cakes, and Charleville cheese. Right? And frozen chips if we're stuck?

Well, not really. None of those traditionally Irish products are actually made in Ireland.

Indeed, there is already evidence of huge price volatility, and panic buying of Chocolate Kimberley biscuits (not made in Ireland) this weekend. A tin will set you back anything between €9 and €14, and shops say people are really stocking up at the moment.

Oh… Hang on… That's not to do with imminent food shortages.

Sunday Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss