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Controversial comments Brian Stanley suggested it could be possible to catch Covid-19 from eating chicken from China

Sinn Féin TD made claim on radio in March and was told he was 'putting the fear of God in people'

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Brian Stanley. Pic Tom Burke 29/6/2017

Brian Stanley. Pic Tom Burke 29/6/2017

Brian Stanley. Pic Tom Burke 29/6/2017

SINN Féin TD Brian Stanley suggested that it could be possible to catch Covid-19 by eating chicken imported from China.

Mr Stanley made the remarks during a radio interview in at the start of the pandemic in March.

The presenter told him "you've put the fear of God in people about eating chicken" and challenged him to back up the comments.

The Laois-Offaly TD is at the centre of controversy about a tweet he posted at the weekend about British soldiers being killed in Ireland and another in 2017 that included a bizarre comment referencing Tánaiste Leo Varadkar's sexuality.

Now an interview he took part in on Midlands 103 has surfaced where he makes unsubstantiated comments about the safety of chicken from China, the country where the coronavirus is believed to have originated.

He told presenter Will Faulkner on The Midlands Today Show that he had learned that chicken that was imported from China was being sold in shops in Portlaoise and added: "I mean that type of stuff is unbelievable."

Mr Stanley was asked if there is a risk presented by that and he replied: "Well I don’t know that."

Asked why he suggested it he said: "I wouldn’t be having it for lunch, would you?"

It was put to Mr Stanley that he had no basis of knowing if there was any danger.

Mr Stanley said: "That's exactly the type of stuff that needs to be examined. That's my point."

He said there needs to be advice from health experts telling people what is safe and cited travel and "questions about St Patrick's Day parades".

Mr Faulkner challenged him on where he read eating chicken could lead to you contracting coronavirus.

Mr Stanley said: "I don't know that and you don't know it."

The presenter said: "But you've made that suggestion now. You’ve put the fear of God in people about eating chicken."

Mr Stanley said he was saying people are afraid about parades, air travel and large gatherings.

Mr Faulkner suggested he was trying to move away from what he said and he asked where he got information on chicken.

Mr Stanley said: "I’ve been asked a question about it by constituents."

Asked if he was trying to source an answer for them, he said: "that's exactly what I'm doing today."

Mr Faulkner later told listeners that "a simple Google search" of food safety authorities around the world reveals nothing to suggest there's any evidence that you can contract coronavirus by eating chicken or any other food.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland website currently says there is no risk from food as Covid-19 is not transmitted through food or ingredients.

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