Advice issued by An Taisce to teachers in a resource pack as part of the Green Schools’ programme has been deemed completely out of order by Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.
This resource pack includes initiatives such as ‘Meatless Mondays’, alongside encouraging children to eat less meat and dairy.
Commenting on the news, the Roscommon-Galway TD said: “Since when is An Taisce an expert on what people should and shouldn’t eat.”
He is of the opinion that while the Green Schools’ programme is a very worthy exercise, the dietary recommendations from An Taisce “need to be drawn immediately”.
“How can this Government, or any Government Minister, back this plan as it is, given that the beef industry is currently on its knees, with farmers having to endure months of poor prices.
“Meat and dairy are part of a healthy, balanced diet. Removing these, or another important food group, for example, would have a detrimental impact on the development of young students.”
Fitzmaurice described the development as “another slap in the face” to the farming community, given that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also stated that he would be reducing his own meat intake earlier this year.
The Independent TD said that dvice such as this is irresponsible on a number of levels, not least from a health perspective.
“Irish agriculture is under fire from multiple angles when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change at the moment.”
“It is viewed as an easy target, while the aviation industry escapes relatively unscathed.”
“But Irish farming, in the main, is not intensive. The introduction of a maximum stocking rate of two livestock units per hectare would ensure that this would continue to remain the case.
“Irish farmers are doing their part for the environment. Small family farms are a core element of rural Ireland and propaganda, such as ‘Meatless Mondays’, being pushed by An Taisce – despite its clear lack of expertise on the matter – would damage these enterprises,” he concluded.