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 …

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 …

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 …

Slaughter House Rules of the Jungle

(Published in Village Magazine, June 2016) Ireland is awakening to the environmental impact of its livestock industry. Village has led the way, tackling an unpalatable subject that the O’Reilly/O’Brien press and the Old Lady of D’Olier Street for a long time ignored. RTE has been more craven still in its favouritism towards a livestock industry, often lovingly referred to as …

Too Much of a Bad Thing

(London Magazine, December 2011) So many tears have been shed for sugar that by rights it ought to have lost its sweetness. Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat The English palate, especially the working class palate, now rejects good food almost automatically. George Orwell Type: ‘Haiti’; ‘Dominican Republic’; and ‘border’, into an image search on Google. A split-second-cyber-miracle-later a startling aerial photograph of a …