President of Ireland Michael D Higgins has suggested that making the climate changes necessary was not as simple as not eating meat.
He was speaking after giving a speech at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska in Co Laois, in which he regularly highlighted the importance of food security.
“I’ve always eaten quite a lot of fish, for example,” he told reporters.
“Remember, in the speech, I have said everybody is going to have to change.”
He said that some people, who are under great pressure financially as a result of inflation, have become accustomed to “a cheap food policy where you have artificially reduced prices”.
He continued: “But in the same way I think people will be adjusting their own diets, but I don’t simplify it like that, it isn’t as simple as that.
“I think people are making choices that are responsible but there is no doubt whatsoever that we’re going to see big changes in diet.”
His comments come after the Environmental Protection Agency deleted a social media post that had encouraged people to cut down on eating meat, prompting the Irish Farmers’ Association to raise concerns.
It said it removed the tweet so that it could not be misinterpreted in what it said was a “complex” issue.
During his speech to attendees of the ploughing, Mr Higgins said that feeding the planet needed to be done in a sustainable way, but said that addressing the issue was made difficult as people spoke about food “in different siloes”.
He said that falling prices of fresh horticultural produce has “squeezed primary food producers’ margins”, made worse by inflation.
“We must put an end to the destructive practice of low-cost retail.”