Agriculture, Food Politics, Gastronomy, Media, Restaurant Reviews, Uncategorized, Veganism, Vegetarianism

Veganism Cost Me Dream Job

By 2009 I was ‘tripping the light fantastic’ as a journalist in the UK. I had landed a gig reviewing restaurants for the Spectator Magazine that once involved flying on a four-seater jet to France to sample the full range of Courvoisier’s Cognac. But as much as I reveled in luxurious dining a sense of guilt gnawed at the inequalities …


Agriculture, Economy, Food Politics, Gastronomy, Health, Ireland, Politics, Uncategorized, Veganism, Vegetarianism

Ireland’s Livestock-Industrial-Complex

It may come as a surprise that a Republican President, and former Allied commander-in-chief, Dwight D. Eisenhower coined the term ‘the Military-Industrial Complex’ before leaving office in 1961. Throughout the Cold War, and beyond, the US arms industry has exerted profound influence on political decision-making. This has yielded vast federal investment in manufacturing operations, and brought sinister deals with tyrannical …


Feirme-geddon. Ten reasons why Irish farming as we know it is on the way out.

We have already seen two agricultural revolutions in Ireland, now we are set for a third. This presents opportunities to farmers who are willing to adapt. After the last Ice Age, the agriculturists who arrived in Ireland brought with them a tool kit of grains and domesticated animals that had spread from the Middle East into Europe. Irish conditions could …

A New O’Reilly?

2017 has been an annus mirabilis for shock jocks around the world. Stateside, their doyenne, Bill O’Reilly was given his marching orders by Fox News, after claims of sexual harassment. In Ireland George Hook was given an extended stay in the Sin Bin by Newstalk for laying a degree of blame on rape victims. Only months earlier his kindred provocateur …

Vegans to Farmers: Let’s Communicate

No doubt farmers will dismiss out of hand someone who believes that animals have rights. But I hope you’ll hear me out. I am not saying you are going to hell for raising animals for slaughter or for trying to make a living from your land, and to take care of you and your family. In my view all of …

Oh Really O’Reilly

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed Damien O’Reilly, the presenter of RTE’s Countrywide and occasionally Liveline, received a payment of €1,500 to act as Master of Ceremonies at An Bord Bia-Origin Green trade event in Dubai earlier this year. This casts serious doubt over O’Reilly’s objectivity in regard to that controversial campaign. Origin Green projects an image of …

In Praise of Hemp

(Published in the Sunday Times, 19/10/14) In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar a marauding mob scour the city for the Emperor’s assassins. They chance upon Cinna the Poet, namesake of one the conspirators. On being asked his name, fatally he replies ‘Cinna’ at which point the First Citizen cries ‘tear him to pieces; he’s a conspirator’. Understandably vexed Cinna wails: ‘I am …

Reforming Our Food Culture

Steven Poole declares that ‘Western culture is eating itself stupid’. His book You Aren’t What You Eat (2012) pokes fun at the snobbery, fads and celebrity culture that attend ‘foodie’ culture. The term ‘foodie’ emerged in the 1980s, but the idea of discussing the enjoyment of food is much older. In France it goes back to the start of the …

Peasant Food Myths

(Spectator Scoff, January 2010) If you are reading this article the likelihood is that you are university educated, your parents owned the home you grew up in and you’ve travelled extensively. Food enthusiasts fall into a cohort of the population that is, undoubtedly, the antithesis of the Chav, and his successful cousin Mondeo Man. We have to face up to …

One Week Working in Mint ended my love affair with food

Sunday Tribune February 10th, 2008 RTE’s documentary Pressure Cooker aired on Monday night provided an interesting portrait of Dylan McGrath, the enfant terrible of Irish gastronomy. It was instructive to observe the chef return to his West Belfast working class origins, then journey to London where pain still registered across his face when confronted with the appalling environment in which …