Cheesy offering to the poor in bad taste, says opposition

MORE than 50 tonnes of Irish cheddar cheese, worth over €750,000 will be made available free of charge to those in need “in time for Christmas”.

Over €800,000 from the EU budget has been provided to purchase the cheese which will be available from the middle of November.

According to a spokesperson for the department of agriculture, to date more than 330 charities have applied for the scheme.

Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith said the cheese scheme is an important means of contributing towards the well-being of the most deprived citizens.

“I am very conscious that many people find themselves in difficult circumstances at present and I want to commend the work of the many organisations who are working on the frontline to bring what comfort and relief they can.”

The addition of 53 tonnes will bring to 167 tonnes the total amount of cheese made available for distribution throughout the year. However, Fine Gael’s Andrew Doyle criticised the announcement, claiming people on the bread line would prefer to see the Government’s attention focused on solving the economic crisis and providing jobs.

The cheese handout was defended by the Defence Minister Tony Killeen amid public resentment.

“I would have thought the appropriate response was we have very high quality products and the minister and presumably Bord Bia and other agencies have hit on a method to encourage people to use Irish products, That surely has a positive element to it.”

The cheese is available from stores in Clondalkin, Portlaoise, Kilmacthomas, and Cobh and Togher, Cork from November 15.

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