Arrogant, hypocritical, disgraceful, disrespectful.
These are just some of the adjectives that have been used to describe the scandalous Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Clifden on Wednesday night.
The function, attended by over 80 people, took place just 24 hours after the government announced new measures which included limiting the number of people permitted at gatherings.
The event was attended by Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary and Galway West TD Noel Grealish, as well as current and former Senators and TDs.
Just hours before the dinner, Minister Calleary defended the new restrictions on Newstalk with Pat Kenny, and attempted to clarify the confusion around why certain new measures were introduced.
Minister Calleary said: “We are in the middle of a pandemic … and that is why we’ve had to restrict the numbers of people going to houses, because of the instances of house parties, and because of the number of clusters associated with house parties over the last number of weeks.”
Yesterday evening, after The Irish Examiner exposed the large gathering, the Fianna Fáil Minister issued an apology, saying that he attended the dinner to pay tribute to a person he respected and admired greatly.
“In light of the updated public health guidance this week I should not have attended the event. I wish to apologise unreservedly to everyone,” he said.
“We are asking quite a lot from everyone at this difficult time. I also offer this apology and my sincere regret to my government colleagues.”
However, the apology was poorly received and the Minister faced a severe backlash on social media, with many pointing out the glaring hypocrisy of members of the government parties who were in attendance.
In a very similar statement issued two hours later, Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer said: “I attended an event at the Station House Hotel in Connemara last night.
“In light of the updated public health advice, I should not have attended.
“I apologise for this, in doing so I am mindful of the tremendous effort made by everyone since March to try and beat this virus.”
Senator John Cummins also parroted the same apology, telling the Waterford News & Star: “Last night I attended a function at the Station House Hotel in Clifden following a golf event at the Connemara Golf Club.
“In light of the updated public health advice issued on Tuesday I should not have attended the dinner.”
Noel Grealish TD did not issue an apology last night, but has since apologised.