#GolfGate Latest: Phil Hogan Says Sorry But Went To Kildare Before Golfing

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Phil Hogan - EU Trade Commisioner

While EU Commissioner Phil Hogan has said he has “complied fully” with the Government’s quarantine requirements and has been in Ireland since late July, The Independent Newsapaper has now revleaed that Mr Hogan travelled to Kildare while it was under lockdown before going to Galway to the now infamous golf dinner.

A spokesperson for the commissioner has confirmed Mr Hogan entered the lockdown county from Kilkenny to get “personal belongings and essential work documents” before driving to Galway to play golf and attending the dinner in Station House Hotel.

“The lockdown guidelines for Kildare provide for exceptional travel outside the county ‘to travel to work and home again,” he added.

The news comes on a day when the Commissioner has been asked by the Taosieach and Tanaiste to consider his position amid the fallout from the Oireachtas ‘Golf Gate’ controversy.

Both spoke to him seperately yesterday and stated his apology came late and that a full account and explanation of his action was still needed.

In a statement earlier, Mr Hogan apologised to healthcare workers and to all the people who have lost loved ones during the pandemic.

“I wish to apologise fully and unreservedly for attending the Oireachtas golf society dinner on Wednesday night last. I want, in particular, to apologise to the wonderful healthcare workers, who continue to put their lives on the line to combat Covid-19 and all people who have lost loved ones during this pandemic. I acknowledge my actions have touched a nerve for the people of Ireland, something for which I am profoundly sorry,” he said.

https://twitter.com/PhilHoganEU/status/1297493864224358400?s=20

A number of senior politicians have resigned over their attendance while Supreme Court Judge Seamus Woulfe is also facing calls to step down.

It comes as the Dail is set to be recalled following the reopening of schools and gardaí have launched an investigation into the dinner, which appeared to breach Covid-19 restrictions.

Mr Varadkar said Mr Hogan told the Tanaiste, Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Minister Eamon Ryan that he does not believe he has broken any laws in relation to his attendance to the Oireachtas Golf Society event.

Labour says as Phil Hogan has not seen fit to step aside, the Taoiseach and Tánaiste should ask the European Commission President to fire him.

The Trade Commissioner issued a fresh statement apologising for going to Wednesday’s Oireachtas Golf Society dinner — but stopped short of resigning.

The event is being investigated by Gardaí for alleged breaches of public health restrictions, and has already cost Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary his seat at Cabinet.

Labour Leader Alan Kelly says the government needs to make its position clear to Ursula Von Der Leyen.

Meanwhile a farmers’ union says its members are furious with Phil Hogan — but because of Brexit, Ireland can’t afford to lose his influence in Europe right now.

Pat McCormack of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association says the Trade Commissioner should stay in his job.