Following a previous Newsbeat programme on honey, John Aherne Secretary of the Federation of Irish Beekeepers, wrote to RTÉ to complain that the programme was a complete indictment of Irish honey.

Mr Aherne believes that the programme did immense harm to the Irish Beekeeping organisation. He speaks to Cathal O'Shannon to set the record straight about Irish honey. Cathal O'Shannon defends the previous programme and statements made about the quality and colour of Irish honey. 

Not all dark honey is bad honey.

Mr Aherne also claims that the programme inferred that there was no organisational structure for beekeeping in Ireland. He refutes these claims saying that there are twenty nine local beekeeping associations operating throughout the twenty six counties and they operate closely with associations in Northern Ireland and throughout the UK. 

The programme had also criticised the fact that Irish honey is almost twice the price of honey from other European countries. Mr Aherne claims that a lot of imported honey is subsidised which explains the price differential. He points to changes in farming as having a negative impact on beekeeping due to the use of insecticides and the disappearance of wild flowers upon which the bees depend. 

Are our beekeepers just a bunch of amateurs?

According to Mr Aherne, while there are some amateur producers there are also professionals producing nine and ten tonnes of honey per year. He believes that Irish honey is infinitely better than foreign honey which has been transported long distances to get here. 

A Newsbeat report broadcast on 21 October 1969. The reporter is Cathal O'Shannon.