Phil Hogan and Jerry Buttimer among other public figures under pressure over Clifden event

The Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary has resigned over attending Wednesday night's Oireachtas Golf Society event
Phil Hogan and Jerry Buttimer among other public figures under pressure over Clifden event

A spokesperson for Mr Hogan told the Irish Examiner that the Commissioner had complied with self-isolation rules, but did not say whether the Commissioner regretted his attendance at the event. File Photo

Pressure is now mounting on public figures who attended Wednesday night's Oireachtas Golf Society event which has led to the resignation of Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary.

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan, Supreme Court judge and former Attorney General Seamus Woulfe, Circuit Court judge Pat McCartan and senators Paul Daly, Aidan Davitt, Niall Blaney, Paddy Burke, John Cummins and Jerry Buttimer were all on the guest list for the event, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the society. 

The event saw more than 80 people attend across two rooms in a Galway hotel, even though public health advice clearly states "no formal or informal events or parties should be organised in these premises".

Education Minister Norma Foley said that Mr Calleary had made a "very serious error of judgement".

She said those in attendance should "look at their personal circumstance and indeed, perhaps, judge it against the standard that Dara has set".

A spokesperson for Mr Hogan told the Irish Examiner that the Commissioner had complied with self-isolation rules, but did not say whether the Commissioner regretted his attendance at the event.

"I can confirm that the Commissioner did attend the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner last night and he complied fully with all quarantine/restricted movement requirements on his return to Ireland."

Noel Grealish has apologised for attending the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner, insisting he exercised social distancing throughout, and was assured the event met public health guidelines.

The Galway West TD said it was an error of judgement.

Senator Jerry Buttimer offered an apology via Twitter last night, saying he should not have attended the event.

The Oireachtas Golf Society event to celebrate its 50th anniversary was held at a function room at the Station House Hotel, Clifden, Co Galway on Tuesday night, even though public health advice clearly states "no formal or informal events or parties should be organised in these premises".

The table plan listed 82 people for the sit-down function, with up to 10 people per table, even though guidelines state no more than six people should be seated at any one table.

A spokesman from The Station House Hotel said they consulted the Irish Hotels Federation, who told them that the event could go ahead with less than 50 people in each side of the room.

"My understanding of dining arrangements is that in any dining room it has to be less than 50," he said.

"There were 81 people at the event who dined with us, divided into 45 and 36. It's not a Mickey Mouse partition, it's a proper physical structure that divides two rooms, but it can be removed.

"It was booked a few months ago, the guidelines were going to change 50 up to 100 but didn't, so we spoke to the Oireachtas Golf Society, and the Irish Hotel Federation (IHF), and we were told that as long as there were no more than 50 diners, it was safe."

An email from the IHF to members on Wednesday, seen by the Examiner, stated: "Further to the Government announcement yesterday in relation to further Covid-19 restrictions, the Department of Tourism has not yet received any guidance on the changes as of this morning. Therefore, the status quo remains in terms of current operational procedures for hotels until further notice."


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