'Let them eat cheese': Limerick councillors feast on Brie after biscuit ban

New metro mayor launches healthy eating drive - but the initiative fails to find flavour with some

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

'Let them eat cheese': Limerick councillors feast on Brie after biscuit ban

Scones off the menu at City Hall: Sean Lynch's health eating drive did not go down well with some

THE newly elected Metropolitan Mayor of Limerick saw that fellow councillors feasted on a diet of Brie and blue cheese this week, after imposing a ban on sugary foods to sustain public representatives through four-hour Council meetings.

Instead of trays of Bourbon and custard creams, as well as ginger biscuits, cream buns and scones, Limerick councillors were presented with platters of crackers, relishes, and an assortment of cheeses and fruit.

But former mayor of Limerick, Independent councillor John Gilligan, who opposed the ban, said it is another example of Ireland edging closer to being a “nanny State” – after it was enforced by a former high-ranking member of An Garda Siochana in Limerick city.

“I don’t like cheese, and if I was to die of hunger, I wouldn’t eat cheese, so I brought in my own scone," he told the Limerick Leader.

“I don’t have a problem with bringing in my own scone, but what really bothers me is some people taking a righteous attitude,” he said.

“If any office or factory worker was denied a scone with their cup of coffee, from 9am to 1pm, I think you would actually be breaking legislation.

“I didn’t want to make a big deal about it so I brought in my own scone, but I think it’s a bit high-handed and we’re not quite a nanny-State yet, and I don’t want it to go that way.”

Cllr Gilligan said that it is oxymoronic that Limerick City and County Council is on the one hand inviting food truck festivals into the city for commercial enterprises and yet denying its own public representatives free will of what to choose to eat on their coffee breaks.

A scone, he said, "is not over and above - nobody is looking for a four-course meal here” and added that "there is a simple thing called choice."

This Monday’s meeting of councillors lasted four hours in council chambers, including an earlier meeting from 9am, which not open to the public.

The newly elected Metropolitan mayor of Limerick, Fianna Fail councillor Sean Lynch, banned biscuits, cream buns and scones from council meetings as part of a healthy eating drive after taking the mayoral chains last month.

He urged fellow elected representatives that they should lead by example, and said that alternative was that they would "all become diabetics".

The former detective, who was involved in the prosecution of some of Limerick’s most notorious criminals, earlier said: “How can we as a local authority be talking about tackling obesity? Let’s lead by example.”

When the ban was first mooted, Cllr Gilligan retorted that he has a number for Weight Watchers for anyone interested, but revenge was a dish best served cold this Monday.