Today Fm Sunday Business Show

As mentioned previous, this morning I was on Irelands Today Fm business radio show.

How did this all come about? The producer of the Business Show Myra had read my blog posts on getting paid and sent me this email last week.

I came across you blog from your web site and was wondering if you were interested in speaking with us re issues surrounding getting paid. It’s a common complaint at the moment and we were looking to do a broad piece on the general area of debt collection. We will look at the new small claims avenue, the debt collectors and the legal route. It would be great opportunity to get some air space for your self and I get the feeling you will be a comforting sound to many of our listeners.

After the show and when I returned home. I  received this email from Myra with some select listeners comments

Why don’t they do what they have in America; put a lein on their property or business?

The system is messed up. You start your own biz, maybe hire staff, and in the downturn you’re entitled to no financial assistance? How do you survive?

Why are self employed people entitled to nothing when their work dries up?

Stand outside their house with a big sign saying they’re not paying.

Good morning. I am self employed also in the agri industry. Now most people are very honest but I think it was just ‘fashionable’ to say I don’t have money. It’s really a case of they have it but wont part with it. Some of the clients I got hard to get money from I just took small amounts. It took longer but worked.

Many thanks to Myra and the entire team. It is really is an absolute pleasure to meet, from entering reception, to the host of the show and to the people behind the scenes, such nice people. 😉 Thank you.

To the very, very many of you who wished me all the best while I was on air via text/ twitter/ email and even those of you who tried to call me….. 😆 Thank you too. 🙂

*note: I say 3 figure sum in the clip. I actually meant 6.

*note also: yes some of my good friends do try and call me to say I can hear you on the radio…. while I am live on air. Everytime….. 😉


Today Fm Sunday 28 February 2010


This Sunday 28th February sometime after 10am, I’ll be a guest on the Today Fm Sunday Business Show. It’s not my first time on the radio, although it is my first on Today FM.

Happily Surprisingly, for some I won’t be on to talk about horticulture as such 😉

The show itself is described as offering…

the listener the latest financial and political news and interviews. Two highly experienced presenters host the show on alternate weeks, Ted Harding and Conall O’Morain

The show is also produced by Myra Hayes. Never heard the show before….? You can listen to podcasts here or have a browse through the Sunday Biz Show blog here.

Tune in manually [100 – 102 on the fm dial] or hit the Today Fm Website and click the listen button.

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gm food? de burca? …the green party?


Very recently I had to take this from the green party & also Deidre de Burca click here.

More recently The Green Party did something similar again – click here except this time they insulted Bill Cullen.

richard-corriganernie whalley image courtesy sunday tribunetom-doorley

On a seperate note: Richard Corrrigans story, well, was extremely confusing to say the least – click here

Corrigans friend Ernie Whalley told me [click above link again]

At least I can read and spell if you don’t like it F*** off.

Richards other friend, Tom Doorley commented that – click here:

Taking a quick look at the blogosphere on this news story, I am astonished at the number of lazy, ill-informed hotheads

He also commented on the same article:

‘…I suppose we are stuck with GM feed but what is equally scandalous is that GM-free feed is virtually impossible to get in Ireland. How’s that for choice? And surely consumers should be able to choose between GM-fed meat and non GM-fed meat. I wonder what the Minister has to say, if anything, about that?

To be honest Tom, I think its only fair that as much as I shouldn’t label all critics as vulgar and rude old men just because of one person, that you shouldn’t label all blog writers as lazy and ill informed? On a seperate note, I do wonder how much research was really done ? And all because Richard wanted to see Bord Bia abolished….

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


Anyhow to the point in hand and the title of the post. [i’ll save you a lot of time here… start from the very end of this inerview and work backwards….]

Station: Today FM
Programme: The Last Word
Date: 24.04.08
Time: 11 mins
Ref: GM Foods

Food prices are rocketing and while it’s an inconvenience, an expensive inconvenience for many people in this part of the world, in third world countries it has been nothing short of a disaster. It’s all down to supply and demand. There just doesn’t seem to be enough food. So could genetically modified foods be the answer? Kevin Myers of the Irish Independent joins us. Hello to you Kevin.

Kevin Myers:

Kevin you wrote recently in favour of GM foods which a lot of people believe is distorting nature. Why are you in favour of them?

Kevin Myers:
Because it’s certainly distorting nature, everything we do in agriculture is a distortion of nature. The wheat that we grow, the beef that we eat, these are creations of mankind and they transformed mankind from famished hunter-gatherers into civilised people who can develop large communities. And
we’ve always modified food and there’s nothing new in that sense about genetic modification. But we know now that the resources of the world simply cannot sustain the population which the world has developed. Now we’ve got the choice of either letting people die which is probably going to happen in Africa, or we choose to create foods which people can eat. And the most obvious thing to do is, for example, is to get.and this is technically possible, it hasn’t happened yet, is to create a genetically modified wheat which can fix its own nitrogen. This means that farmers in the mid-west of America don’t have to put fertiliser, nitrogenous fertiliser on their soil. Nitrogenous fertiliser comes from oil. So you don’t have
the tractor going backwards and forwards and you don’t have the oil being extracted from the ground. And here you have wheat that would essentially feed itself and will therefore feed the world. And the argument against that is a
purely reactionary and immoral argument. That is to say we are meddling with nature, of course we are.

And from what you’re saying could it also be environmentally friendly in that you’d have less of a carbon footprint in producing a vastly increased amount of food?

Kevin Myers:
Yeah, Matt, I’m not terribly fond of terms like carbon footprint because they get cycled all over the place. I know you’re using a term that everyone is using but I don’t even know what it means anymore. But the question is it going to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions? I would have thought so. I would have thought so. It seems to be unarguable that if you haven’t got tractors going
backwards and forwards, you haven’t got fertiliser being extracted and sent halfway across the world. If you’ve got wheat in Kansas getting its own nitrogen from Kansas soil then that’s clearly preferable to pumping out unnatural fertiliser all over the place.

And I have Deirdre DeBurca of the Green Party with me as well and I’ll turn to her in a second but you also put this argument in the context of the use of land at present
for the manufacture of biofuels to feed car engines rather than feeding people. What’s your objection to that?

Kevin Myers:
Well it’s.I haven’t got an objection except the market is, has been, transformed by this and American farmers are producing biomass fuels and going out of food production. The consequence of this is that rice has doubled in price in the last year while farmers are piling into the more profitable fuel production. So if we are going to have biomass, and I’m far from convinced that we should be, but if we are then it makes sense to create biomass more efficiently using genetically modified crops.

Senator Deirdre DeBurca of the Green Party, how moral is it that land which could be used to make food, to grow food for people, is now being used to make fuel for car engines?

Deirdre DeBurca:
It’s not moral and it’s not supportable and it shouldn’t happen. I think there’s a very serious debate going on at the moment about the fact that it is. But I think I’d like to, if you don’t mind because I think that Kevin made a couple of points there and just to say that obviously what he’s saying arises out of article he wrote recently which was a highly opinionated opinion piece, but that’s exactly what it was, an opinion piece. And you know, Kevin had a go as usual at people like myself I suppose who he’s referring to as well healed humbugs who have driven the hysteria about global warming.

Kevin Myers
Sorry Deirdre.

Deirdre DeBurca:
.not me, well thanks, but I assume people like me and the people that I work with and the NGO’s and the general, the constituency that is concerned about global warming. And you know it’s amusing to read it and you put interesting positions and so on but unfortunately none of your opinions are backed up by scientific fact. So if you want me to quote you some scientific facts I’d be delighted to. One of them is that recently, and very recently in fact, on the 15th of April the most thorough examine of global, examination I should say, of global agriculture was carried out and it was called the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development. It was launched at a plenary session in Johannesburg South Africa. It was a collaboration between the World Bank, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environmental Programme, the World Health Organisation and so on. It’s about 2,500 pages long and there were more than 400 scientists involved
in it over a four-year period. And basically what it said is firstly a fundamental change in farming practice is needed to counteract soaring food prices. Secondly, genetically modified crops are highly controversial, the scientists say, and will not play a substantial role in addressing the challenges of climate change, hunger or poverty. Instead they say small-scale farmers and agro-ecological methods are
the way forward with indigenous and local knowledge playing as important a role as formal science. There’s also another article.

Please don’t read long paragraphs out again please

Deirdre DeBurca:
I wont read a long paragraph, but just to say because I do think it’s important that these opinions that are expressing are based on scientific fact. This is an article
quoted in the Independent, the English Independent on the 20th of April which basically says that an important study was carried out at the University of Kansas in the US green belt. It has found that GM Soya produces about 10% less food than its conventional equivalent. And the study confirms earlier research that was done at the University of Nebraska which found that GM, Monsanto GM Soya produced 6% less than its closest conventional.

Ok, Kevin Myers, who impressed are you by those statistics that have been recited?

Kevin Myers:
I’m not impressed. You can trot out arguments like this all day long and you can say based on this survey or that survey that GM is not the way forward. The point is that to rule out GM as a matter of abstract principle from the outset is wrong. Now if in the practical application of GM you don’t get a higher crop then abandon that GM
experiment. But Monsanto have been working on this for a very long time and it’s not just a question of crop increases, it’s a question creating crops that are immune
to certain herbicides so you can have an immune.a wheat that’s immune to herbicides so you can spread the herbicides which will kill all the pest crops and leave the wheat standing. Now this is a genetic possibility. And I’m not going to go into all the genetic possibilities Deirdre because I don’t know them. I haven’t got a clue. You know what I am, I’m a journalist, not an expert. But lots of people say what I say. And you can have lots of opinions lined up in your support and no doubt the opinion is far better learned and far better advised than I am, but I am talking about the principle from the outset of saying there will be no genetically modified foods in this supermarket.

Ok, I want to put a point to Deirdre DeBurca. Deirdre, a listener Angie says we eat processed meats and milk and lots of other processed foods. GM food is just another process. And also a point that was put to us by Kevin Myers earlier about beef production for example. The cattle that we have now have been developed as a result of all sorts of cross breedings, scientific experimentation. They are much much bigger then cows ever used to be because that then gives us the meat. What is wrong with using science to give us increased food supplies?

Deirdre DeBurca:
Ok, and let me just clarify for Kevin in the first place, the green party has not ruled out the use of GM in the first place. What we say is it’s premature to introduce it on a wide scale commercial basis in the way that large multi-national corporations like Monsanto and others are lobbying for at the moment. Genetic modification and the whole gene manipulation is a very new science and it is not a fully understood science. And in fact there are lots of unpredicted consequences when scientists begin to manipulate genes. Now Kevin made a point in his article, something about interfere with nature or the laws of nature and there’s always a kick back or you have to then live with the consequences, maybe unintended consequences of that. And certainly that is one of the concerns in the area of genetic modification, because it’s not a natural process. Unlike all the other crop cultivation methods that were used over centuries, this actually involves transferring, crossing the species barrier and taking DNA from one species and artificially inserting it into the DNA of another. And we still have no idea how, you know, it is really. I think most scientists would admit it is a science that is evolving but it is not fully understood and therefore to launch GM foods and genetically modified organisms on the market,
telling and stating with certainty to consumers that these are safe and are going to have no long term effects on them is not something that any of us can stand up and.

Ok last word to you on this Kevin Myers, because it has been suggested that if you have to do these experiments, if you do them on land, you run the risk of the adjacent land becoming contaminated. A bit like the rotten apple in the barrel. Would you fear that you could do something that could end up destroying the land and destroying crops?

Kevin Myers:
Anything can go wrong. Nuclear power stations can blow up, railway engines plough into stations, cars crash. If you invent technologies then there will be consequences to those technologies and you have to predict the consequences where you can. To tell you the truth I’m really delighted to hear Deirdre say, and it’s obvious I haven’t been doing my homework, I thought the Greens as a matter of principle were opposed to genetic modification. To hear that they’re not is really refreshing.

No, Deirdre I sat beside Trevor Sargent at a food forum down in Wicklow last year and he was completely against GM foods.

Deirdre DeBurca:
No I think what.maybe we haven’t been too effective in communicating our position and often it’s assumed we’re just anti-GM. What we are saying is we are opposed to the commercial introduction of GMO’s at this moment in time.

I think that’s a modification of Trevor Sargent’s position.

Deirdre DeBurca:
No, when the science fully supports it we will be happy to do so but it doesn’t at the moment.

Alright we’re going to leave it there. Senator Deirdre DeBurca of the Green Party and Kevin Myers of the Irish Independent, thank you for joining us.