richard corrigan [for the] silly farm… ?

...all the way to the bank

...all the way to the bank

Richard Corrigan called a press conference today. All of the media who were invited to Richards restaurant  were asked to sign a waiver as it was to be recorded for his television programme….. Corrigans city silly farm. In a  flawed variation of  Jamie Olivers School Dinners taking on the Prime Minister, Corrigan has decided to call for the abolition of Bord Bia ….eh?

Recently, Richard Corrigan has turned to the big screen on RTE to do a ‘show’, Corrigans City Farm; a documentary propaganda routine more than inspiration and a lifestyle model moronically and rediculously achieved, for the cameras. Niall Harbisons post will speak to what Bord Bia have done for Ireland from a food point of view. [my qualifications are horticultural rather than culinery]

In this cartoon version of reality, hens were introduced, to be held for four weeks. Also a  chicken coup ‘home’ that cost thousands… It would have been cheaper to buy an already organic farmed one. FACT. In the first weeks of the show an amazing amount of machinery was used to clear the site…. costing [more] thousands. I know even building my own coup, raised beds etc… it will take time to ‘balance the books’ so to speak financially. But it is not about money. It is a lifestyle.  Not say Richard Corrigan. And how on Gods earth would he know…? As the old theory goes, ‘you can’t just tell people to plant their annuals when they don’t know what annuals are’, is unknown to Corrigan. One needs to explain how to grow one seed first….

I’ve had my grievances with semi states. We all have. Minor, they may have been over trees or a garden design… they were solved. Not in the public eye. Mono é mono. As gentlemen should do. But when money and fame are concerned, maybe the gentleman is entitled to sell his soul…

The Press Release:

Richard Corrigan Calls For The Abolition Of Bord Bia

Bentleys Townhouse Dublin, Ireland: 8th of May 2009: Leading Irish chef Richard Corrigan today called for the abolition of Bord Bia or at the very least a radical rethink of how the body promotes Irish food in Ireland. The current situation, he believes, is highly unsatisfactory in that Bord Bia is prevented under EU law from promoting exclusively Irish produce in the domestic market through the Quality Assurance Scheme. This means that the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme can apply to produce from any EU country and is therefore deeply flawed.

Therefore buying Bord Bia quality approved products does NOT ensure the following:

* That the products are Irish

* That the products are GMO-free

* That the interests of Irish farmers and consumers are a priority

“I believe that the promotion of Irish food abroad and the promotion of Irish food at home should be separated. I would like to call for at least a radical overhaul of Bord Bia’s role in order to preserve and create Irish jobs, to empower Irish consumers, to support Irish farmers and to see tax payers’ money spent constructively”, said Richard Corrigan. “Ireland has a unique capacity to produce the safest and highest quality food in Europe instead we are sailing in the opposite direction,” he said.

Valerie Keating, Director
GK Events and PR

If Bord Bia is abolished, what happens the landscape contractors, the nurseymen, the Quality Programmes for this sector. What happens when the sterling competes with the euro and mushroom growers are almost closed down…. when embargoes of irish beef are put in place…  when pork and other scares are internationally held… and when no garden designer had a chance in Ireland, ever, though it may well be criticised, Bloom did come along… but then the PR is working according the print media ?

This sees him trying to teach people how to deal with the credit crunch in an innovative manner by bringing back the idea of allotments in Cork and showing viewers how to become self-sufficient by growing their own fruit and vegetables.


and of course Richard has got his friend in the Irish Times:

Taking a quick look at the blogosphere on this news story, I am astonished at the number of lazy, ill-informed hotheads who claim that Corrigan’s press conference today was a publicity stunt for his Dublin restaurant (which, as it happens, is conspicuously successful). If you want a taste of this nonsense, have a look here.

I wonder if Tom can confirm then if Richard Corrigans farm is GM free and/ or organic in its entirety and reality? Or is Tom just jumping on the Simon Palmer bandwagon. Maybe Peter Mulryan of RTE would like to comment on this matter?


The following is a series of emails between genetics & biotechnology PhD Student Shane Morris of UCC and RTE. In a comical turn of events, the legal department of RTE are the only aid to Mr. Morris and more importantly Richard Corrigans Farm cannot guarantee that the Cork farms are organic.

From: Shane Morris
To: Mulryan Peter
Cc: Complaints Review ; Goan Cathal
Subject: GM food and Corrigan’s City Farm
Sent: Sun 03/05/2009 01:23

Dear Peter,

I am just wondering if you could confirm if you are producing the Corrigan’s City Farm episodes relating to GM food?

I only ask as there are suggestions made that you are far from neutral on the issue of GM food as outlined on the Irish Seed Savers website as it states you have even purchased GM-free signs for your property. I hope the forthcoming episodes won’t be yet another case of RTE crucifying science and good journalistic values.

I look forward to viewing your episodes on GM foods.

Kindest regards,


From: “Mulryan Peter” <>
To: Shane Morris
Subject: RE: GM food and Corrigan’s City Farm
Date: Tue, 5 May 2009 10:06:42 +0100

Hi Shane,

Thanks for the email. I am the Series Producer of Corrigan’s City Farm and therefore am across all programmes. My personal feelings on GM are neither here nor there, my job is to produce a TV show. Richard Corrigan has very strong opinions on GM and they are already in the public domain, but I can assure you I would never make a  programme that crucified science for the sake of ratings.

Yes we have organised No GM signs for both our allotments as they are being run on an organic basis, a decision reached by both groups, not imposed by RTE. This is a campaigning show and you can expect plenty of robust debate on a whole range of issues between now and the end of the series.

Many thanks,
Peter Mulryan.

From: Shane Morris
To: “Mulryan Peter” <>
Subject: RE: GM food and Corrigan’s City Farm
Date: Tue, 05 May 2009 11:35:54 +0100

Thanks for the reply Peter.

I have heard Richard’s factless opinions on GM in the past which are without doubt a crucifion of the science on the matter. I have never seen him interview or talk to a
scientist on the matter….maybe if you wanted to do something ‘new’ for an RTE program you should have Richard invite a biotech scientist to the allotment…..just an idea…..

just as a point of interest, will the allotments be certified organic?…..might be hard to prove no disallowed chemical use on the land in the past 3 years as required under organic rules (or even within the last year as is the case in special circumstances)

Kindest regards,


From: Shane Morris
Sent: 06 May 2009 23:33
To: Complaints Review ; Shane Morris
Cc: Crowley Colm; Mulryan Peter
Subject: RE: GM food and Corrigan’s City Farm

Dear Nina,

Thank you for your reply and for CCing Mr. Crowley. For your information, I enclose below an email (and my follow up reply) that I received from Mr. Mulryan, the series producer for Corrigans City Farm. It seems Mr. Mulryan is content to have Mr. Corrigan express his “opinions” on a scientific matter during a publicly funded RTE “campaigning” television production without any balance brought to bear.

I find this very strange especially as one of the UK’s most famous sustainable food/farming advocates, Jimmy Doherty of BBC2’s Jimmys Farm, last year did a production which examined the issue of GM food in a manner that attempted to move past simple “opinion” and examine the evidence in hand.(see

If even Jimmy Doherty who, as he himself has put it, has made a name for himself pandering to “the traditional, free range, farm… that wholesome thing,” (i.e. the purely aesthetic end of Britain’s food interest) can produce a balanced and thoughtful piece on GM why then can’t Mr.Corrigan et al?

Of course, there is great delight that this show is being filmed in Cork and it is wished the best of luck. However, it would be even more delightful if the suggestion made to Mr. Mulryan of having a scientist chat with Mr. Corrigan as part of the GM segment of the production be acted upon.

Thank you again for your reply and your time on this matter.

Kindest regards,

ps a review of Jimmy Doherty’s program can be found here:
/26/gm-foods-horizon-jimmy-doherty >


From: “Mulryan Peter” <>
To: Professor O’ Connor UCC
Cc: Shane Morris, “Crowley Colm”
Subject: FW: GM food and Corrigan’s City Farm
Date: Thu, 7 May 2009 10:55:39 +0100

Dear Professor O’Connor,

I am growing more and more concerned about a series of emails I am receiving from, a Shane Morris. They come from a UCC student account and Mr Morris appears to be a Phd student of yours. Could you clarify if this is a personal campaign being run by Mr Morris, or is this from your department?

There is a system within RTE and within the Broadcasting Complaints Commission to facilitate members of the public who wish to complain about a programme that has been transmitted, however there isn’t and there can’t be a way for people to comment on programmes that haven’t even been made yet.

Writing a series of mails to the producer of a show, which have been sent to the Director General, is not how the process works and could be seen as intimidation.

Many thanks for the time and I look forward to your

Peter Mulryan
Series Producer

From: Shane Morris
Sent: 07 May 2009 13:04
To: Mulryan Peter; Professor O’Connor UCC
Cc: Shane Morris; Crowley Colm
Subject: Re: FW: GM food and Corrigan’s City Farm

Dear Peter,

I am sorry you seem to have taken offense at my interest in an RTE production. Please note there is no “campaign”, personal or otherwise, nor even a complaint.

As a member of the public who has had previous correspondence with Mr.Goan and others within RTE on the handling of scientific matters by RTE I felt it worthwhile
to keep them informed.

As outlined previously I wish you and RTE the best of luck with what I hope will be an informed and useful production for the Irish public.

Kindest regards,

From: “Mulryan Peter” <>
To: Shane Morris
Subject: RE: FW: GM food and Corrigan’s City Farm
Date: Thu, 7 May 2009 13:19:35 +0100

From now on and as a matter of course your emails will be forwarded unread to the RTE legal department.

Peter Mulryan

and it seems anyone who isn’t a friend of richard is a ‘newsos or a snapper’ or simply just knows nothing……….. says Ernie Whalley of ForknCork. It’s not begrudgery Erin… it’s logic. As Tom suggests… be careful your blog doesn’t become ‘a taste of nonsense’ .


I just received this from Ernie Whalley via twitter.




It’s seems ‘scrap is a very big word’ all of a sudden. It’s a big massive change of direction from the original press release……. 😯 But why do a youtube video anyway….? [by the way this had 1 view and a 5 star rating when I saw it this morning]

However, I’ll save you a lot of bother here… simply listen to the first 15 seconds and then scroll to 9.00 minutes.…  enjoy!

UPDATE: To listen to Richard speak to Aidan Cotter of Bord Bia the link below:


UPDATE: the aftermath

UPDATE: dear richard corrigan and rte

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
15 replies
  1. Peter Donegan MI Hort
    Peter Donegan MI Hort says:

    i’ll comment on the compliment only…. 😯 eh? thank you 😉

    thank you! I’d hope not Stiofain… maybe that’s up to the blog-nation now. I’d guess Tom Doorley wont be stepping up to the plate… sure as long as he gets his say in the main print. Shame!

    It is a pity that RTE didnt start with the average garden ie. on a windowledge/ apartment balcony. Where it would have had most effect – considering the waiting list on plots/ allotments and the associated costs….

    I also wonder if *any* politician will take up on this matter…..?

  2. Laura McGonigle
    Laura McGonigle says:

    Sweet tomassy!!(its from the Godfather) if anyone was being intimidating in that series of emails it was Peter Mulryan……

    If people want I can contact the environment department in City Hall which is facilitating Corrigan’s farm and see how there feel about presenting both sides of the GM argument!

    Let me know.

  3. donnam13
    donnam13 says:

    i read most of your blogs but dont always comment. i’ve read this one twice and dont quite understand what it is i’m reading. partly due to not being familiar with local things or people, but partly because I’ve lost your train of thought, or point of all this.

    I think what i’m reading is that you guys might be losing a way of life. you might be losing the ability to grow non-genetically modified food. that this person has little or no experience with things he is now going to be talking about, on his own show? if thats the case, i think people need to speak up. its your right to ask questions and find out info and if you dont agree with it, to say so and why.

    i hope i’ve interpreted this correctly.

  4. Cheese
    Cheese says:

    “It is a pity that RTE didnt start with the average garden ie. on a windowledge/ apartment balcony.”

    I agree a bottom up approach is the correct way to be talking about this in the media, including home growing, balcony growing or whatever it may be.

  5. Marie
    Marie says:

    I know this is the lesser of issues you have brought up Peter but where did Whalley’s rage and foul language come from? I’m far less inclined to read his column now (read: I’m not reading it any more) and am disappointed that he conducts himself like that.

  6. Mark Cantley
    Mark Cantley says:

    Hmmm … These exchanges seem to degenerate into bad temper and bad language, neither very conducive to education, enlightenment or the progress of mankind. Shane Morris’s requests for balance in the gm debate seem reasonable, but he seems to confront a machine whose measure of quality is simply number of viewers. A pity. A well-educated nation with decent research institutes and good productive land should be leading in the advances and applications of modern biotechnology in agriculture. The broadcasters should be talking more to researchers and professors, less to self-publicists with little real knowledge in depth, who mislead the public and encourage politicians to strangle innovation.

    Mark Cantley

  7. Peter Donegan MI Hort
    Peter Donegan MI Hort says:

    A Chara Cheese
    I certainly think so anyhow…. from an audience point of view [i think] it would have given everyone the *i can have a go at this* eezy peeezy chalky cheezy approach….

    there’s nothing wrong with only one fruit trees and a pot of parsley…. absolutely nothing!
    appreciated, so very much 🙂

    a chara mark
    in a nutshell yes – sometimes the ‘sure drop around for a coffee’ really is the way to go…. In my opinion a bit of UCC and the comment by Cheese… now that would be a crackin’ programme.
    appreciated very sincerely

    so to speak….. you’d need to move to Ireland for about 4 gizzillion years donna to figure this conundrum…. i’m still trying to figure out why some of the ‘personalities’ [is that really the right word….?!!]

    I’ll explain it to you via a crossword puzzle…. 😆

  8. C Kameswara Rao
    C Kameswara Rao says:

    It would be appropriate to label the produce as ‘Organic’, instead of ‘GM free’ which casts aspersions on an innovative and fairly beneficial technology. The criticism of GE technology is rooted in prejudice and/or ignorance of the relevant science, technology, the rigorous regulatory regime, the demonstrated safety and profitability to the farmers and the consumers, and the demonstrated environmental benefits.

  9. ernie whalley
    ernie whalley says:

    I wouldn’t normally get involved in a fracas of this kind but I feel certain things should be made clear to people who read this blog.
    As I stated in response to your second post – which took pains to suggest that was somehow inferior to your blog because my take on the Corrigan press conference was ‘a statement’ (your words)rather than an invitation to comment, Forkncork was conceived some years ago, not as a forum for debate or as a ‘blog’. Indeed, I am not sure whether the neologism had even been dreamed up at the time. The website (a term I prefer) was, and is, essentially a home for my writing, published and unpublished, on food, wine and restaurants, something I have been doing to earn a crust for well over 20 years. The forum (where, had you registered) you could have started a discussion on Corrigan or any other topic) is simply an enhancement.
    When I told you to ‘fuck off’ it was out of exasperation at your seeming lack of comprehension rather than any anger. I am not normally so intemperate and will apologise if this has caused offence. I should maybe have restricted my Tweet to ‘If you don’t like forkncork, don’t read it.’
    In my piece I thought I set out a pretty balanced view of the Corrigan campaign. It’s there for the reading if anyone’s interested.
    My own take on Bord Bia is that they do a very good job of promoting Irish food abroad but their QA schemes to date have been decidedly flawed.
    My judgement on Corrigan, who I have known since I interviewed him for Food & Wine back in 1999, is that his intervention was sincere, but his message was confused, largely because he grouped together issues that would have been better kept separate.
    The less said about Mr Harbison’s video rant – twice as incoherent as Richard’s speech – the better. Mind you, as I always maintain that criticism should be the restricted to people with appropriate knowledge or experience and as Niall Harbison does seem to have a nodding acquaintance with both self-promotion and failed restaurants (Gallagher’s)I’ll defend his right to an opinion.

    ps If you are to publish these comments. I’d appreciate it if you would do so in their entirety, un-edited. If you are not prepared to do so, please delete this post.

  10. ernie whalley
    ernie whalley says:

    Well, thanks for publishing my post, un-edited as requested. And, re the photo, having seen the one you acquired (from The Tribune?) I almost wished I hadn’t asked you to take the one shot by my daughter down!
    One last thing. When I said ‘the other journalists were Newsos and Snappers’ this was in no way derogatory, merely a comment that News correspondents and photographers made up the bulk of the attendees at the press conference. I was surprised that so few food writers bothered to turn up.
    Personally, I’d like to see all this acrimony laid to rest. But I’d still like to see meaningful QA badging for Irish food so the consumer knows exactly what they’re getting.
    Best wishes.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave A Comment...