European Commissioner Phil Hogan urged ‘to consider role’ of Irish leaders


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Phil Hogan attended an Irish Parliamentary Golf Society event at a hotel in County Galway on Wednesday

Irish political leaders have asked EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan to reflect on his position after attending a dinner with over 80 people.

Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Micheál Martin and his deputy Leo Varadkar believe Hogan must “give a full account”, national channel RTÉ reported.

The event came a day after tighter lockdown restrictions were announced.

Irish police are investigating whether the dinner violated Covid-19 regulations.

Participation in the event has led to two high-profile political resignations so far.

Former Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary and Jerry Buttimer, who was the leas-chathaoirleach (Irish Senate vice-president), both resigned after attending the event in County Galway.

As EU Trade Commissioner, Mr Hogan would lead free trade negotiations with the UK if and when they start after Brexit.

However, on Thursday he found himself in the midst of growing controversy over his participation in the Oireachtas Golf Society event on Wednesday.

Mr Hogan apologized for attending the event, writing on Twitter that he was present “on the clear understanding that the organizers and the hotel concerned had been assured [by the Irish Hotels’ Federation] that the arrangements put in place would comply with government directives ”.

However, the Sunday Independent reported that Messrs. Martin and Varadkar want the European Trade Commissioner to examine his position.

A government spokesperson told RTÉ that the two men believe that “the event should never have taken place, that the commissioner’s apologies came late and that he has yet to give a full account and an explanation. of its actions ”.

A spokesperson for Mr. Hogan told RTÉ that “there will be no response tonight to the call of the taoiseach and the tánaiste (deputy prime minister) to consider his position” but that “We will think about it”.

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The president of the Oireachtas Golf Society has apologized “wholeheartedly” for the injuries caused by the dinner.

Other present at the event included Supreme Court Justice Séamus Woulfe and independent TD (MP) Noel Grealish.

Previously, Taoiseach Micheál Martin described participation in the event as a “monumental error in judgment”.


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