The Minister of State with responsibility for food safety, Ned O'Keeffe, has denied any wrongdoing in relation to the controversy over the feeding of meat and bone meal to pigs on his family farm. Speaking amid calls for his resignation in the Dáil last night, Minister O'Keeffe condemned the politics of a witch-hunt to which he said he had been subjected over the past couple of weeks. The Minister said that he had not breached any standards in relation to food safety or quality assurance, and had at all times lived up to the high standards expected in public office.

He said that it had never been a secret that he and his family were pig farmers, but denied Opposition claims that he was involved in the day to day running of the farm at the centre of the row. There was a lot more involved in the management of a farm, he said, than writing cheques or being a debtor. Minister O'Keeffe said that he had no hand, act or part in the granting of a licence to feed meat and bone meal to pigs on the farm, although he acknowledged that it would have been better not to have had such a licence. Earlier, Fine Gael's Agriculture spokesman, Alan Dukes, said that the Minister should resign or be dismissed, unless he could provide some satisfactory responses to unanswered questions. The Labour Party has called for Minister O'Keeffe to be suspended from his position pending an inquiry by the Public Offices Commission.