Gardaí confirm investigation into golf event attended by top politicians

Gardaí confirm investigation into golf event attended by top politicians

AN GARDA Síochána have confirmed they are investigating the indoor event attended by 82 people, including top politicians, which took place in Clifden on Wednesday night.

In a statement, Gardaí confirmed they had launched an official investigation into potential breaches of the health act.

The inquiry will focus on the organisation of the event rather than the individuals who attended, Gardaí say.

They declined to make any further comment in relation to the matter as the investigation is ongoing.

Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary has resigned from his position following public backlash to his attendance at the event, just one day after the Government introduced restrictions limiting the number of people allowed at indoor events to 6.

And Senator Jerry Buttimer resigned from his position as vice-chairman of the senate shortly thereafter, stating "it was an unintended but serious lapse of judgement in attending the event".

"I should not have attended the dinner and I hereby tender my resignation as Leas Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann."

EU Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan, admitted he attended the event but did not apologise, saying he had been told "the arrangements put in place would be in compliance with the government's guidelines."

Newly-appointed Supreme Court Judge Seamus Wolfe, who helped draft the guidelines which he then broke, issued a statement where he said "that I ended up in a situation where breaches may have occurred is of great regret to me, and which I am sorry. I unreservedly apologise".

"I was not aware in advance that there was going to be an organised dinner as part of the event," he said.

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, removed the party whip from senators Jerry Buttimer, Paddy Burke and John Cummins, all of whom were in attendance, "in recognition of the seriousness of this matter".

The Tánaiste issued a statement on Twitter, where he said the event should not have gone ahead.

"Funerals, christenings, weddings, family holidays and other really important family occasions have been foregone to protect each other and the most vulnerable. As representatives we should lead by example."

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has removed the Fianna Fáil whip from senators Paul Daly, Aidan Davitt and Niall Blaney, who each attended the event.

Opposition parties, including Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, have called for the Dáil to be recalled in order to address the controversy, however she claims the Taoiseach declined the suggestion.

"He is wrong," Ms McDonald said.

"The government is increasingly chaotic, confused, with no direction. They must be held to account."

The six-week Dáil recess came into effect three weeks ago, after Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party voted against a motion to delay the break to focus on issues surrounding schools reopening and Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

The Dáil will not return until 15 September.