Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue says the Taoiseach’s comments about eating less red meat were ill-judged and have angered beef farmers across the country.

Deputy McConalogue said, “As the Taoiseach, he is in charge of implementing the Programme for Government, which clearly commits the government to promote the Irish beef sector and exports.  Instead of doing this, he is committing to reduce his red meat intake, which he claims will reduce his carbon footprint.

“The Taoiseach has completely ignored the fact that Ireland has one of the most carbon-efficient beef production systems in the world.   Irish beef farmers have work incredibly hard to achieve and maintain their record on climate change mitigation, but Leo Varadkar has failed to recognise this.

“Today in the Dáil, rather than acknowledge the anger he has caused, the Taoiseach doubled down stating that red meat contributes to higher rates of cancer”.

Spokesperson on Food & Horticulture Jackie Cahill added, “These comments have caused anger among beef farmers across the country.  They’re currently experiencing some of the lowest beef prices in recent times and are under immense financial pressure.  Now they feel that they have been undermined by the Taoiseach, who’s singular attempt to reduce his carbon footprint is to eat less red meat.

“The Taoiseach is completely out of touch with farmers and the farming community.  These comments were completely inappropriate for the head of government and could prove hugely damaging for an already strained beef sector”.