Phil Hogan has said today that he wishes to apologise “fully and unreservedly” for attending the Clifden golf dinner that has drawn national outrage.
Hogan was one of more than 80 guests at an event organised by the Oireachtas Golf Society on Wednesday.
In a statement today, Phil Hogan said that he wants to make a “fulsome and profound” apology for attending the event.
“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.”
“I realise 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.”
He said that there is more than just “compliance with rules and regulations” to take into consideration at this time, and that people should show solidarity.
However, current COVID-19 regulations do explicitly state that indoor events should not be attended by more than 6 people, and that restaurants should seat no more than 6 people at a table.
A Garda investigation is underway to determine if the organisation of this event breached any COVID-19 regulations.
Phil Hogan said that he spoke to both Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar yesterday about this.
Hogan drew even greater ire than many others who attended, due to the initial reservations in his statements.
Initially Hogan said that he attended the event on the understanding that organisers and the hotel believed it to be compliant
But pressure has come from the direction of the government in the time since, with the Taoiseach saying that he should “consider his position” and that his initial apology “came lare”, but stopping short of outright calling for him to resign.
Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary and Leas-Cathoirleach of the Seanad Jerry Buttimer have already resigned from their roles over this scandal.
The Taoiseach will ask the Ceann Comhairle on Monday to recall the Dáil from its summer recess early due to mounting public anger about this the needs addressing.