Whether you’re trekking to Stradbally this weekend for the Electric Picnic or just sharing a frappuccino with your silage crew outside the local horsebox coffee dock, fabulous is something to pitch for.

So, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tweeted a photo of the truly fabulous Kim Cattrall in her cameo reprise of Sex and the City’s Samantha in the recent reboot, proposing the route to fabulousness was to reduce food waste and reduce red meat intake, it was predictable that we would be treated to yet another round of finger-pointing between farmers and environmental activists.

Farmers pointed out that the EPA, as a regulatory Government agency, should, to borrow a phrase form the World Athletics Championships, stay in their lane. The tweet went further. It suggested that eating less red meat was a “healthier and wealthier” option.


Unsurprisingly, farmers took particular exception to that proposition, asking for their credentials as nutritionists. “Farmers were horrified when they heard about or read this tweet,” IFA president Tim Cullinan said on national radio.

“There was huge rage among our members.” Dermot Kelleher of the ICSA described it as “an anti-meat agenda”.

The tweet was deleted, and then we moved into the next, equally predictable stage of the process. Farm organisations were accused of bullying for daring to express their opinion that the tweet was not appropriate. Duncan Stewart said the IFA was “a bit like Trump”.

Describing Irish agriculture as “incredibly unsustainable”, he said the IFA was a vested interest and that “they just don’t want to accept the truth.”

EPA director Laura Burke has now acknowledged the tweet was a bad call. “To reduce this complex question to a single tweet would diminish the seriousness of the discussion we need to have,” she said.

She’s right on that one. That necessary discussion she refers to would best take place in a less-charged environment. Hot air is not going to reduce global warming. Content matters, but so does tone. And the tweet was flippant, blind to the sense farmers have that they are working harder and moving faster than practically any other comparable group in society to lower their carbon footprint, but still are often portrayed as careless polluters.

‘Out of control’

The Cork meeting reported on in these pages was interesting – Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard described the EPA as “out of control”, while farmers called from the floor for increased Department of Agriculture oversight of the closed period for slurry spreading. It really is complex. All this situation needs now is for Kim Cattrall herself to wade in with an opinion.