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Rachel Allen

Rachel Allen to tackle 'dead bird' pics on RTÉ show

Chef to respond on Brendan O’Connor’s chat show to criticism of Facebook photo which shows her posing with shotgun and five game birds.

JUST AS YOU thought the controversy had died down about Rachel Allen’s Facebook photographs, she goes on RTÉ to remind us of it.

The celebrity chef will appear on RTÉ One’s Saturday Night Show on Saturday to speak to Brendan O’Connor about the picture she posted of herself on Facebook in which she is posing with a shotgun and a number of birds she had shot (with a view to cooking and eating them later).

The Irish Indepedent spotted the photo a week after she posted it on Facebook and made it a lead story on its page three. Animal rights groups such as ARAN then criticised the chef – ARAN offered to donate €1,000 to a children’s charity of Allen’s choice if she “puts down the gun for good”, according to a statement they sent around to newsdesks on Wednesday.

RTÉ publicity is claiming that the Saturday night interview will be Allen’s “only interview following the controversy that emerged this week over hunting pictures of her posted on Facebook”. She responded to the controversy only on Facebook on Wednesday:

The origin or sourcing of food has been a long-held interest and concern of mine and I have gone to great lengths in my current series to trace the provenance of food and respect it. No objection was raised to showing pigs being sourced for chorizo, or sheep for a curry dish, for example.

The second issue relates to the linking of the Facebook posting both to fox hunting generally and the meeting of a local hunt at Ballymaloe House in particular.

Firstly, I should point out that I have no interest in fox hunting of any kind and I am not aware of any association between family members and fox hunting.

Secondly, the lands at Ballymaloe House and Ballymaloe Cookery School are and for generations, have been, preserved. This means that no hunting of any kind takes place on the farmlands.

Thirdly, the hunt traditionally meets at Ballymaloe House on New Year’s Day only, since long before I was born. The welcome of Ballymaloe House is world famous and we are always anxious, when we can, to uphold that traditional country hospitality.

If Allen’s appearance on the Saturday Night Show doesn’t tickle your fancy, Brendan O’Connor’s other declared guests will be the team leaders from RTÉ’s Operation Transformation and UTV continuity announcer Julian Simmons.

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