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Change of identity with a simple stamp

When is an Irish chicken not an Irish chicken? Answer-- when it's a Tesco chicken! Or so say callers to Liveline with Joe Duffy. On Monday Civil War politics got a new twist when the nationality of Irish poultry was questioned.

They were taking about Tesco's 'Buy me I'm Irish campaign', and callers were very unhappy generally about the origin of some of the so-called 'Irish' produce.

"I saw giant sandwich-baps from Northern Ireland and hot cross buns from the UK in the 'Buy me I'm Irish' section," said one caller.

"It must have been a mistake," said the beleaguered Tesco spokesman, and he added that Tesco clearly labels the origin of all its food.

But the people had spoken.

"And it's not just bread Joe. It's chickens as well, Joe -- Moy Park chicken is from the north Joe -- you can't get Irish chickens in Tesco, Joe. It's eggs too, Joe. And it is systemic, Joe. They are putting them in the 'Buy me I'm Irish' section. But they are Northern Irish, Joe."

Then the plot thickened as the spokesman asserted that they were only following guidelines set by An Bord Bia, as if this proved nationality.

It transpired that the An Bord Bia approval logo, which is a shamrock, is stamped on many of the chickens produced in the north. It is almost identical to the logo that is stamped on food produced in the Republic. It all seemed misleading, agreed the callers.

"How do Moy Park chickens that are produced in Tyrone qualify?" asked a caller.

"It could be a situation where the Moy Park chickens are from the Republic and sent over to the factory in Tyrone," said the spokesman.

"Now that's Irish," came the reply! Tesco proudly informed us that they export Irish produce to the tune of €655m. But the knives were out and they were 100pc Irish.

The issue of whether one thing can be changed into another was also discussed on The Inbox on Dublin's 98 on Monday.

They were discussing whether homosexuals can successfully undergo gay-to-straight conversion therapy. Apparently there is a small but significant band of psychoanalysts who believe that it is possible. Their reductionist theory says that most homosexuals suffered from over-dominant mothers and distant fathers. This theory was echoed by one of the formerly gay, but now straight callers

"In that case, all children of single mothers should be gay," said the presenter, Paul Connolly, debunking the claim.

"I had definite homosexual feelings as a younger man," said another caller, who admitted to having had gay relationships between the ages of 17 and 23.

"I'm now 100pc completely heterosexual, thank God," said one of the callers. Neither attended counselling but both believed it was possible to 'cure' gayness.

"Was it not the case that you are just bi-sexual?" said the astute presenter.

They also spoke to a gay journalist, who underwent 'conversion therapy' for research purposes.

"They told me that I had definitely been sexually abused, which was not true," he said. "Just think of the damage that would have been done if I acted on that," he added.

My advice? Like Tesco's chickens, be true to your origins . . .

Liveline, RTE Radio 1, weekdays 1.45-3pm The Inbox with Joan and Paul Dublin's 98 Monday to Thursday 7-9.30pm