Credit: Houses of the Oireachtas

Green Minister: Throwing beans at paintings is “really effective”

A Green Party Junior Minister has told a group of young people that throwing beans at paintings is “a really effective thing to do” during an Oireachtas Committee meeting, as climate activists vandalise priceless artworks globally.

The comments were made by Dun Laoghaire TD Ossian Smyth, who is a Minister of State, during a meeting at Leinster House with young people about COP27 and “climate justice.”

“One thing that you have as young people that’s an advantage is impatience,” he said.

“You must be absolutely bored to death hearing everybody going on and on and on – all that shouting. And you want to see action. And you want to see something actually happening.”

Smyth went on to say that it was important to have both talk and action when it comes to climate issues, and continued to explain what kind of action he meant: throwing beans at paintings.

“When I see people throwing tins of beans at paintings with glass on them or whatever, that’s a really effective thing to do. It draws attention. But also words help.”

Smyth was referring to activists from the radical climate group “Just Stop Oil,” who have gained publicity in recent weeks for vandalising priceless paintings with food stuffs to draw attention to their cause of ending fossil fuels.

Earlier this week, the activists threw soup over Vincent Van Gough’s classic painting “Sunflowers”. They then glued themselves to the wall to make it harder for gallery security to remove them – a classic tactic commonly used by eco-radicals like Extinction Rebellion.

The group also threw mashed potatoes on a classic Monet painting in Germany.

While both paintings were covered in glass and untouched by the food, the frames were reportedly damaged and the vandals have been charged with criminal damage.

Gript contacted Minister Ossian Smyth’s office, asking him if he supports illegally vandalising property, such as throwing soup and beans at priceless paintings to prove a political point.

We also asked if he would condemn the Just Stop Oil activists who vandalised the paintings, and condemn all illegal actions by radical groups such as Extinction Rebellion, which has been labelled an extremist ideology by UK counter-terrorism police.

However, the Minister did not respond to the query.

Gript also asked Green Party Arts Minister Catherine Martin for her comment. Again, she did not respond.

Finally, Gript asked Green Party leader and Transport Minister Eamon Ryan the same questions, and if, as Transport Minister, he supported climate radicals blocking roads.

However, Ryan did not respond to questioning either.

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