"We let our anger be known" Taoiseach is pressed on Golfgate as pressure mounts on Phil Hogan
Micheál Martin stopped short of calling for Phil Hogan's resignation.
Pressure is mounting on the European Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan, concerning his involvement in Golfgate and his previous movements with respect to public health guidelines. The Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, was visiting a national school in Dublin earlier this afternoon and addressed the scandal when pressed by reporters at the site.
There's been wide-spread outrage to the event, which was attended by 80+ people just 24 hours after the government announced new restrictions limiting at-home gatherings to six people and in-door gatherings to 50 people.
Speaking at St.Fiachra's National School in Beaumont, The Taoiseach said that Phil Hogan has damaged the public health approach in this country, "In the context of attending the dinner, in the context of the various other breaches I think he's undermined the whole approach to public health guidelines, on behalf of the people we had to let our anger be known to the Commissioner in respect to the breaches, that was important ".
Despite this condemnation, Micheál Martin stopped short of calling for Hogan's resignation adding that, "The President has a legal framework within which to operate because there's been precedent in the past and difficulties in terms of the issues around removing commissioners".
"I think he's undermined the whole approach to public health in Ireland."
Taoiseach stops short of calling for Hogan to resign but says breaches of health guidelines are clear to see.
— Richard Chambers (@newschambers) August 26, 2020
Last night, Phil Hogan released a statement explaining his recent behaviour, claiming that he has adhered to Covid-19 guidelines at all times. He also released a full timeline of his movements which can be seen below:
- 31 July – I arrived in Ireland, completed the statutory Passenger Locator Form and travelled to my temporary residence in Co. Kildare.
- 5 August - I was admitted to a Dublin hospital for a medical procedure.
- While in hospital, I tested negative for Covid-19 (www.citizensinformation.ie confirms that a negative test result ends the self-restriction period).
- 6 August - I was discharged from hospital and returned briefly to my temporary residence in County Kildare.
- 7 August – I travelled to Kilkenny before the local lockdown rules came into effect at midnight in Co. Kildare (and neighbouring counties Laois and Offaly).
- 12 August - I travelled to Dublin from Kilkenny for essential work reasons, which required my attendance at the European Commission office. While in Dublin, I also had separate meetings with the Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and with Minister Robert Troy, to brief them on events relating to ongoing negotiations with the U.S.
- 13 August – I played golf in Adare, Co. Limerick and returned to Kilkenny.
- 17 August – I travelled from Co. Kilkenny to Co. Galway via Co. Kildare. I stopped briefly in Co. Kildare at the property in which I had been staying for the purpose of collecting some personal belongings and essential papers relating to the ongoing negotiations with the USTR, Robert Lighthizer, which continued while I was in Co. Galway. This culminated in an agreement on a package of tariff reductions on 21 August.
- 18 August – I played golf in Co. Galway, staying in Clifden. (no formal dinner or reception).
- 19 August – I played golf in Clifden, and subsequently attended a formal dinner for which I have since apologised.
- 21 August – I returned from Galway to my temporary residence in Co. Kildare to collect my remaining personal belongings, including my passport, and stayed there overnight to catch an early morning flight to my primary residence in Brussels from the nearby airport.
- 22 August – I returned to Brussels.
The European Commission have received a report from Phil Hogan and the President, Ursula Von Der Leyen, is reportedly assessing it carefully before any decisions on his future are made.