The EU’s trade commissioner has issued a “fulsome and profound” apology as calls for him to quit after attending a golf dinner during the pandemic intensify.
A spokesman for Phil Hogan said he will not be resigning. trade commissioner
He has been urged to consider his position by the leaders of Ireland’s coalition Government, Micheal Martin, and Leo Varadkar, after the event at a hotel in the west of Ireland with more than 80 people.
He is a senior Irish politician with significant standing in Brussels who would be deeply involved in any deal with Britain after Brexit.
Current guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic state that no more than 50 people should gather indoors.
The Oireachtas Golf Society event was held at the Station House Hotel in Clifden, Co Galway.
In a statement, Mr. Hogan said: “I acknowledge my actions have touched a nerve for the people of Ireland, something for which I am profoundly sorry.
“I realize fully the unnecessary stress, risk and offense caused to the people of Ireland by my attendance at such an event, at such a difficult time for all, and I am extremely sorry for this.”
Police are investigating whether coronavirus regulations were broken in holding the Irish parliament’s golf society event two days after the Government announced it intended to curb the numbers permitted to gather together.
A resurgence in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks has led Ireland to backtrack on some of its plans to reopen society after lockdown.
The function was held across two rooms in the hotel in Clifden.
Other attendees including the then agriculture minister Dara Calleary have resigned.
A Supreme Court judge was among others on the guest list.
Mr Hogan said: “I acknowledge that the issue is far bigger than compliance with rules and regulations and adherence to legalities and procedures.
“All of us must display solidarity as we try to stamp out this common plague. Read more