Traditionally, the passing of days used to be demarcated by the solar-lunar cycle. Divided into 24 hour chunks, our days were set to the rhthyms of Apollo and Artemis' chase through the passing sky. Now though, we have a new metric which could prove equally reliable to help punctuate the passing of each day, and that is the regularity with which a Healy-Rae makes some sort of egregious comment.
They issue forth with frothing, molten nonsense with such metronomic regularity that it has hereby made all other forms of time-keeping redundant. Every 24 hours, with infallible consistency, a Healy-Rae will spout some salty gibberish about global warming, or the interfacing of 'the consumption of a large meal' and 'one's driving ability'. Today however, Danny Healy-Rae hit out at Leo Varadkar's comments regarding his attempt to cut down how much meat he was eating.
The Taoiseach, when asked about what measures he was taking to reduce his carbon footprint, said that he was "trying to eat less meat, both for health reasons and for reasons of climate change". Given that an estimated 15-20% of all greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to livestock production, this is a reasonable statement to make. Reducing the amount of animal products you consume is one of the most tangible ways to limit your own carbon footprint. As such we can assert this to be both a reasonable statement and a reasonable aim.
Though of course given that Ireland is a traditionally agrarian country, with an incredibly well-regarded and productive agricultural sector, there exists an inescapable tension here. A tension between progressive ideas regarding a necessary attempt to mitigate the anthropogenic damage to the environment and the impact that this will have on the thousands of families and individuals whose livelihoods revolve around pastoral agriculture. This is obviously a very complex issue and one which needs a nuanced approach to forge a swift, and mutually reconcilable path forward.
Cue Danny Healy-Rae.
In response to the Taoiseach's comments, the Independent TD stated that the Taoiseach's comments were the preserve of a metropolitan elite. He launched an impassioned tirade were he seemingly advocated the type of meaty diet adhered to by a decadent late medieval king who would've developed severe gout by their early 40s.
He declared that, "Them fellas that are talking about stopping people eating meat have never worked hard. If you're a hard worker and do a hard days work there's nothing to bring you back and to revive again than a piece of good meat. Whether 'tis bacon and cabbage or whether 'tis beef or mutton stew, if you don't that you won't rise out the following day."
Now, as far as I can tell, Danny Healy-Rae seems to be implying that if someone shirked eating meat for one day, while working, they would be forced to remain bedbound the next day. Their body would be so wracked with a type of existential meat-yearning that their strength and endurance would desert them.
His views on climate change have previously proved controversial, saying that it was the preserve of god to decide what happened with the weather and the climate. He expounded on this idea somewhat again by saying that, though the climate may change, its shifts are natural and are in no way influenced by man. "It's people suggesting that they can actually control the weather or change the weather situation, that's where they're wrong and I don't agree with that. And it is ridiculous to think that people should stop eating meat to change or protect the weather. Ridiculous."
The inability, exhibited here, to understand simple causal relationships is astounding for an elected politician.
Given that flexitarian, vegeterian and vegan diets are becoming increasingly popular it is surely only a matter of time before the streets are littered with the frail waifish bodies of those adherents of these diets. We will be strolling by wan, skeletal figures crying out in the gutter, their milky, translucent, beef-deprived skin growing thin and parched under the harsh winter sun. And it will be up to Danny Healy Rae - and Danny Healy Rae alone - to tour the country, in a cement truck he's had specially converted to carry industrial quantities of hot, meaty stew to cure their ails. He will pull up beside them, and he will stoop down over these poor people and, cradling their weak heads in his arms, direct the sluice from the end of his converted Beef Wagon™ toward their cracked lips, and release a torrent of restorative broth into their withered bodies. It is only he who can save them.