Tag Archives: Dara Calleary

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary

This morning.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin released the following statement:

“This morning Deputy Dara Calleary tendered his resignation as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, following his attendance at the Oireachtas golf dinner on Wednesday evening.

“His attendance at this event was wrong and an error of judgement on his part. I have accepted his resignation. People all over the country have made very difficult, personal sacrifices in their family lives and in their businesses to comply with Covid regulations.

“This event should not have gone ahead in the manner it did given the Government decision of last Tuesday.

“Dara Calleary, since he was first elected to Dail Eireann has been, and remains, a committed and dedicated public representative. This error of judgement was out of character. He has made the right decision for the country, particularly in the [sic] light of our continued effort to suppress Covid-19.”

Earlier:

 

From top: Fianna Fáil Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary, EU Commissioner and former Fine Gael minister Phil Hogan, Supreme Court judge Seamus Woulfe; former RTE presenter Seán O’Rourke; some of the alleged seating plans for the 50th anniversary OIreachtas Golf Society event at the Station House Hotel in Clifden, Co Galway on Wednesday night. It has not yet been confirmed whether all the people listed attended

Last night.

Political Correspondents Aoife Grace-Moore and Paul Hosford, of The Irish Examiner, reported that Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary was among more than 80 people, including senators, TDs, and judges who attended the Oireachtas Golf Society’s 50th anniversary dinner at the Station House Hotel, Clifden, Co Galway on Wednesday night.

Within hours the story was picked up by BBC and the New York Times.

This morning, Mr Calleary was scheduled to appear on RTE’s Morning Ireland but it later emerged that his spokesperson told RTE that he was no longer available. It’s since emerged that Mr Calleary is now resigning from Cabinet (see tweet above).

Last night it was also confirmed that EU Commissioner Phil Hogan, Supreme Court judge and former Attorney General Seamus Woulfe, former RTÉ presenter Seán O’Rourke, Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer and Senator John Cummins also attended the event.

Minister Calleary, Senator Buttimer and Senator Cummins have all since apologised, while a spokesperson for Brussells-based Mr Hogan told the Irish Independent that Mr Hogan “complied fully with all quarantine/restricted movement requirements on his return to Ireland”.

A spokesman for the hotel told The Irish Examiner that the 81 people who attended the event were divided by an partition, into two sets of 45 and 36, while the event’s table plan listed 10 people per table.

However, around 24 hours before the anniversary event on Wednesday, and after a three-and-a-half Cabinet meeting, Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced a new suite of Covid-19 restrictions including:

– A maximum of 6 people are seated at a table at restaurants and cafes (including pubs that serve food and hotel restaurants); and that no formal or informal events or parties should be organised in these premises.

– People should continue to work from home where possible.

– All visits to homes should be limited to six people from outside the home, from no more than three households (indoors and outdoors).

– All outdoor gatherings should be limited to 15 people, down from 200.

– Indoor events should be reduced from 50 people to just six people, except for businesses such as shops and restaurants.

– Indoor weddings and some religious services, such as mass, are exempt and can still take place with up to 50 people.

– All sporting events and matches should take place behind closed doors with strict avoidance of social gatherings before and after matches. Training sessions should follow the rule of six people indoors and 15 outdoors.

– Gyms should have no more than six people in an exercise class.

– Public transport should be avoided.

He also said that the Attorney General, Minister for Health and Minister for Justice were considering introducing legislation to give additional powers to “gardai and agencies to enforce public health measures”.

During the press conference Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn told journalists:

“…we must focus on two key numbers: six and 15. Please do not have more than six people over to your house or garden and no more than six people should meet up in any indoor setting. Outside no more than 15 people in total should meet up. And even then people should physically distance from one another.”

In addition, when the Taoiseach was asked when these restrictions would take effect, Mr Martin said they were taking effect immediately.

Meanwhile, last night, Virgin Media One’s Political Correspondent Gavan Reilly tweeted:

“The ‘tightened’ restrictions announced earlier this week don’t yet have any force of law. The Department of Health says no regulations have been signed (yet) to lower the number of people who can attend gatherings.

“But…that means the existing Phase 3 regulations still have the force of law. Those regulations prohibit any “event for cultural, entertainment, recreational, sporting, social, community or educational reasons” which intends to accommodate 50 people indoors, unless it’s in a home.

“But more than that: it specifically makes it a penal offence to organise such an event. A person who organises such an event for over 50 people could face a fine of €2,500 and even, prospectively, six months in prison. Note: This applies only to the organisers, not attendees.

“So: organising an indoor event for 50 people is legally a Big Deal. (Especially so, perhaps, when the organiser is the Oireachtas Golf Society.) But: here’s the rub. The organisers, and hotel, believe they were in compliance with the rules – because they split the party in two.

“The two parallel rooms were placed in a hotel function room with a partition (the standard hotel ballroom variety), which was not drawn fully across. Attendees have told me the partition was left partly open so that hotel staff could go between rooms to serve food, and so on.

“The hotel’s stance is that it wasn’t one function, it was two – with 45 in one room and 36 in the next. But I also understand that, not only was there a single table plan presented to accommodate the 81 attendees, speeches were given in one room, addressed to those in the other.

“So was it one event or two? That’s probably subjective – but if you think it was all one event (which the organisers and venue clearly don’t) it would seem an evident breach of the law which carries not only a possible fine, but also a threat of jail, for its organisers.”

Meanwhile, this morning, on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Ms Moore told Rachael English – who asked if the news wasn’t being well received given so many people had made sacrifices such as missing funerals, weddings, christenings in order to adhere with the Covid-19 restrictions:

Me and Paul Hosford who wrote the story with me, both of us actually put our weddings off. We were both supposed to get married so yeah we’ve also made those sacrifices. But I think, yeah, when the story went up last night, and it started to gain traction, we started to get emails into  the Irish Examiner, from nurses, from teachers, people who were living in Kildare, people who lived in Laois and Offaly who were just voicing their serious frustrations is the only word for it, you know, and anger.

“And I think the big thing, and for years to come, I think what people will remember most about this time period, for Irish people, is definitely funerals. Funerals are so important here, the whole protocol around death is so important to people.

“And I do think that that’s the thing that’s really going to stay with people. We’ve all seen those like heartbreaking images of people saying goodbye through the windows of nursing homes and stuff like that. So I think…that’s the main thing that people are so upset about. That we’ve all made these sacrifices and, you know, this silly mistake from people who are supposed to know better kind of flies in the face of that.”

RTÉ Morning Ireland

‘I should not have attended the event’: Minister apologises for attendance at golf event in breach of health guidelines (Aoife Grace-Moore and Paul Hosford, Irish Examiner)

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan and RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke also attended 80-strong golf dinner with minister (Philip Ryan, Hugh O’Connell, Irish Independent)

Pics: Rollingnews  and John Barrington

This afternoon.

Dublin Castle, Dublin 2

The Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil ministers arrive for a cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle. From top: Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Sport Dara Calleary (left) and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly; Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath and Minister for Agriculture and the Marine Barry Cowen.

Gumming for a pint.

Earlier: Mea Gulpa

Rollingnews

Dara Calleary

This morning

Meanwhile..

Jim O’Callaghan

FIGHT!

TDs ‘perplexed’ as Jim O’Callaghan among heavy hitters overlooked for Cabinet (Independent.ie)

Earlier: You Can’t Expel Me…I’ve Quit

From top: Fianna Fáil Leader  Michéal Martín (left) and Niall Collins TD; Mr Martín and Timmy Dooley TD; Lisa Chambers TD

This morning.

Fianna Fáil TD and the party’s Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers spoke to Audrey Carville on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland about how she came to vote for the party’s deputy leader Dara Calleary last Thursday.

It followed the Irish Independent reporting on Saturday that Ms Chambers’ party colleague Timmy Dooley TD had voted six times last Thursday even though he wasn’t in the Dáil chamber.

Mr Dooley and Fianna Fáil Niall Collins, who voted for Mr Dooley, have been suspended from the front bench pending an investigation by the Ceann Comhairle.

Ms Carville began her interview with Ms Chambers after airing a clip from yesterday’s on RTÉ’s This Week during which Ms Chambers was asked if she ever voted for a colleague or had a colleague vote for her.

She replied: “No, I haven’t.”

From this morning’s interview…

Audrey Carville: “‘No, I havent’. So why did you say you hadn’t, when you had?”

Lisa Chambers: “Well, honestly, Audrey, I took that to be, ‘did you ever intentionally, knowingly, purposefully,  you know, go into the chamber to vote for somebody else and were ever asked to do so and the answer to that is ‘no’. And I’ve never asked somebody to do that for me either.

“What happened for me last Thursday was an honest, genuine mistake. All of the seats are side by side. We sit alphabetically. Myself and Dara Calleary’s seats are beside each other. The seats are identical, they’re not numbered.

“And when I walked in, the row was pretty empty so I mistakenly sat in Dara’s seat instead of my own, not realising. So when I voted on the very first vote, now there were lots of votes on Thursday, when I voted on the very first vote, I honest to God believed I was sitting in my seat and pressing my voting button.

“And when I looked up at the main screen where we can see the seats highlighted for voting, I realised my seat wasn’t highlighted. And that’s when I realised I was in the wrong seat with probably less than 10 seconds to go, I hopped into my own seat, beside it, and then cast my own vote which is what I should have done.

Now, my mistake, and I hold my hands up on this. I should have told the teller that there was an error recorded in the seat beside me. I didn’t do that. The reason I didn’t was that the vote was lost by  such a huge number that I genuinely thought it was insignificant and that it was a genuine mistake. There were lots of votes. Dara missed a few votes, I only voted in the very first one and then I moved my seat.

“There are absolutely no benefits or no good reason why I would have voted for anybody else. It didn’t make any difference to the vote, as I said now, I should have still corrected the error regardless. But there’s no reason you would do that. And I hope that people will take it as a genuine, honest mistake on the day.

“Others have done the same, my mistake was not telling the teller to correct the record.”

Carville: “But if it was a genuine mistake, why did…”

Chambers: “And it was…”

Carville: “Why did you also vote for yourself though?”

Chambers: “Well I should have voted for myself. That’s because I was in the chamber, I should have recorded my own votes, that was the correct thing to do. My mistake, and what I should have done, and I hold my hands up, I should have told one of the tellers that I had recorded an error vote in the seat beside me…”

Carville: “Yes, you should have done that. But you also should have, when you recorded the vote in Dara Calleary’s seat, surely then you knew, your vote was recorded, you didn’t need to vote for yourself as well.”

Chambers: “Well, no, your vote isn’t recorded because it’s assigned to the seat you’re supposed to be sitting in. So my seat was blank, as though I wasn’t voting. So, again, you’ve got 60 seconds to take a vote. Even if you look back at the Dáil footage, you’ll see, I cast what I thought was my own vote maybe about 15 seconds in, but in Dara’s seat. I realised I was in the wrong seat. There was maybe 10 seconds left and I went, popped into the seat next door, my own seat to cast my own vote...”

Carville: “Ok. So why didn’t you tell the vote tellers or the Ceann Comhairle?”

Chambers: “Look it, I should have and…”

Carville: “But why didn’t you?”

Chambers: “I looked up, the vote was lost by such a huge margin, it didn’t make any difference. I accept I should have done it, it was a genuine error. But there was no mal-intent. I didn’t purposefully, intentionally go in to vote for somebody else. Dara never asked me to do that, he was none the wiser. This was news to him, as well. It was an honest, genuine mistake and I’m hoping that by coming on and explaining, people will take it as that.

“I think people have come to know me the last number of years, I work hard, I do my best, I put my best into my work and I’m straight. You know this was an honest mistake. Others have done it but my error and I full accept, I should have told a teller on the day that I recorded an error vote in the seat beside me…”

Carville: “When you say ‘others have done it’, who are you talking about? Are you talking about other people, other than Timmy Dooley and Niall Collins?”

Chambers: “Well, people can record error votes by mistake. You might press ‘Tá’ instead of ‘Níl’ you could press the button on the wrong side of you by mistake but what I should have done is tell the teller so that it could have been cancelled out.”

Listen back in full here

Earlier: A Limerick A Day

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

Fight!

Thanks Helen O’D

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary; Tánaiste Simon Coveney

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary asked Tánaiste Simon Coveney about the Brexit deal agreed between the UK and the EU this morning – but rejected by the DUP.

He specifically asked if Mr Coveney could confirm the deal will ensure there are no border or customs checks on the island of Ireland.

He also asked if he could confirm the Good Friday Agreement is “intact” by way of this deal.

And he asked if members of the Irish government – Mr Coveney himself, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar or any of their officials – “engaged” with members of the Democratic Unionist Party in “recent days” to “see if the Irish Government can assuage their concerns, whatever they are, around this deal”.

Mr Coveney said he urged caution and while there is an agreement between UK and Brussels, “that isn’t the end of the process”.

But he said the deal recognises “all of the issues we have been raising over the past three years”.

He said it will “protect” the people on the island of Ireland, and peace and trade on the island.

He added:

“It will ensure that there are no checks, whether they be sanitary and phytosanitary, whether they regulatory cheeks, whether they be live animals, or indeed whether they be customs checks in the context of goods travelling and being traded north and south, and south and north. I think that is a very significant achievement.”

He also said:

“The bit that has changed in the Withdrawal Agreement relates to Ireland. Much of the Irish protocol remains the same on issues like the CTA and so on. But the provisions which were previously referred to as the backstop have changed.

“But we have always said that if we can replace the backstop with something else that does the same job on the key issues that I outlined earlier in terms of protecting the peace process preventing a hard border and protecting  Ireland’s place in the EU single market and customs union, if we can achieve that, then we will always look favourably on a new approach.

“As long as the outcomes were guaranteed and I believe they are. And that is why I think this is a deal that is worth supporting because it protects core Irish interests.”

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

Earlier: Done Deal