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20.41 18 Jan 2019


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The eating habits of Irish people were very much one of this week's main talking points.

Arguments for cutting back on meat are not by any means new - meat-eaters have long been urged by various groups to limit or indeed totally stop eating meat for ethical, environmental and health reasons.

However, a look at most restaurant menus show meat isn't going anywhere soon, and indeed many have argued that meat production is essential for Ireland's economy.

Leo Varadkar this week indicated he was cutting back (but not entirely cutting out) on meat in his diet.

His remarks prompted a lively response from TD Danny Healy-Rae.

The Kerry deputy suggested: "Them fellas that are talking about stopping eating meat never worked hard.

"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."

Environment Minister Richard Bruton spoke to the Hard Shoulder this week, and indicated he won't be joining the Taoiseach and cutting down on his meat intake as he already has a balanced diet.

However, he did warn that there's definitely a change in how many people perceive what they eat. 

A new diet?

Meanwhile, a new report this week warned there needs to be a drastic reduction in meat eating in order to protect the planet for future generations. 

Experts recommended a diet that is likely to come as a shock to many Irish people:

This week's discussions and debates are representative of what we're likely to hear a lot more of in the coming years.

As the world continues to come to terms with climate change and governments work to take large-scale action to limit the damage, the debates over individuals' eating habits are likely to only intensify.

But it's equally clear many won't be replacing their steaks or Sunday roasts with meat-free alternatives anytime soon.

People with a range of views on the issue debated the subject on the Hard Shoulder during the week:


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