A Kerry TD has claimed that anyone who gives up meat has never worked a hard day in their lives.
Danny Healy-Rae said a piece of good meat is the only thing that can revive you after a hard day's graft.
He was speaking after the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was trying to cut down on how much meat he eats to help reduce his carbon footprint.
"Them fellas that are talking about stopping eating meat never worked hard," said Deputy Healy-Rae.
"Because if you are a hard worker and do a hard day's work, there is nothing to bring you back and to revive you again than a piece of good meat - whether it is bacon and cabbage or whether it is beef or mutton stew, if you don't have that you won't rise out the following day."
It comes in the wake of a raft of research highlighting the disastrous consequences eating meat is having on the world's environment.
Agricultural meat production is causing huge damage to the environment through deforestation, the emission of greenhouse gases from livestock, water shortages and agricultural pollution.
In October of last year, a major new study warned that massive reductions in meat consumption will be required if we are to mitigate some of the effects of climate change.
It found that beef consumption in western countries needs to drop by 90%.
The researchers called for a global shift to 'flexitarian' diet - warning that the average person needs to eat 75% less beef, 90% less pork and half the number of eggs in order to keep climate change below catastrophic levels.
The Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (INDI) advises that with careful planning, "vegetarians who only avoid meat products, can quite easily achieve a balanced diet containing all the nutrients a body needs to perform at its best."
It notes that the stricter the diet, "the more difficult it can be to get all your nutrients from diet alone" - however including nutritional supplements can make up any shortfall.
The American Dietetic Association has advised that "appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases."