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Sheep inside the live crib in 2019
Mansion House

'It's above my pay grade': Taoiseach weighs in on Mansion House live crib controversy

Micheál Martin said that there were a ‘variety of ways’ to enjoy Christmas.

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the live crib at Dublin’s Mansion House, saying that there are a “variety of ways” to enjoy Christmas.

The yearly live crib outside the Mansion House was cancelled last week by Green Party Lord Mayor Caroline Conroy, who proposed that the live crib be replaced.

Speaking at the launch of over 70 new social homes in Mulhuddart in Co Dublin, the Taoiseach joked that the controversy unfolding over the decision to cancel the live crib this year was “above my pay grade”.

“I have enjoyed Christmases in the past where we visited live animals,” said Martin, saying that he took his children to see them in Ballina years ago.

“But look, we all have different perspectives. People will have a variety of ways to enjoy Christmas.”

When pressed on whether or not the Lord Mayor should reverse the decision not to hold the live crib outside the Mansion House, the Taoiseach joked: “I think this is above my pay grade.”

There has been controversy caused by the decision to cancel the live crib this Christmas, with the Minister for the Office of Public Works Patrick O’Donovan calling it a “Scrooge-like agenda”.

O’Donovan said he will be working with the IFA on a new location for the crib which attracts thousands of children and their families every Christmas in Dublin.

“Children suffered enough over the last two years having to live with Covid and wondering would Santa and Rudolph manage to get to their homes with lockdowns and restrictions. Let them enjoy this Christmas,” the minister said.

“Let’s have a Nativity crib in the capital city for all children to visit. There cannot be a Scrooge-like agenda from any council for children at Christmas time.”

However, the cancellation of the live crib was welcomed by the National Animal Rights Association (NARA), saying that it was a “progressive step for animal rights”.

The statement, from NARA spokesperson Laura Broxson, said: “Not using animals for entertainment is something that should be welcomed by all as a more compassionate way to mark the festive season.”

“We have been objecting to the ‘live crib’ for over a decade. Farm animals do not belong in Dublin City Centre.

“They’re put in an enclosure, on display, where they have no space to get away from people. They are surrounded by lights, noise and hundreds of people staring at them. In 2022, it’s not an acceptable way to celebrate Christmas.”

O’Donovan said that he is currently working with the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) to find a new location for the live crib.

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