Tag Archives: Golfgate

Former EU Commissioner Phil Hogan in this morning’s French daily Libération

This morning.

Further to former EU Commissioner Phil Hogan’s golfgate resignation…

Vie RTÉ News:

In an interview with French newspaper, Libération, Mr Hogan is understood to have suggested taking action against the Commission.

The paper’s long time Europe Correspondent, Jean Quatremer, writes that he met Mr Hogan for an exclusive interview and that Mr Hogan “did not rule out the idea of demanding compensation for the damage suffered“.

Mr Hogan had previously apologised for attending the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Clifden, Co Galway, but denied that he breached Covid-19 quarantine rules.

In the interview, Mr Hogan said that during the golf dinner, he had been sitting next to the former minister for agriculture Dara Calleary, who, he said “participated in the Government meeting which decided on the new restrictions“.

The paper says that Mr Hogan met the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen four times in three days following the controversy, which erupted on 17 August.


On Monday, 24 August, according to Mr Quatremer, Ms von der Leyen asked Mr Hogan to write a precise chronology of his movements.

However, Mr Hogan is quoted as saying that at this meeting he felt “that she wants to end this affair as quickly as possible and that she wants me to leave. She immediately believed in the interpretation given by the Irish Government, which claimed that I had undermined its pandemic strategy by my actions.”

The paper states that the following day, Ms von der Leyen “demanded” that Mr Hogan give an interview to RTÉ “to explain himself”.

Mr Quatremer writes: “A commission president who manages the media agenda of a commissioner is undoubtedly a first.”

UE: comment Ursula von der Leyen a viré son commissaire au Commerce pour rien (Liberation)

Sean O’Rourke

This morning.

Further to the dismissal of the Golfgate case…

“I followed the trial closely and the outcome is a relief not just to the defendants but to everyone who attended on the assurance that it complied with the rules.

“The aftermath was traumatic for me but many thousands of people suffered far more than I did from the pandemic.

“I lost a good contract to resume the work I love. That had a big effect on me and my family.

“I would like to go back on air. I have good relations with many people in RTÉ and I am hopeful that a way will be found for me to work again with RTÉ on radio and television.”

Broadcaster Sean O’Rourke, whose RTE ciontract was not renewed following his attendance at the Golfgate event.

Sean O’Rourke wants to return to broadcasting with RTÉ after ‘Golfgate’ (Irish Times)


The Station House Hotel in Clifden, Connemara, County Galway, which hosted the Oireachtas Golf Society, dinner in 2020

This morning/afternoon.

The trial of two politicians and two hoteliers over their alleged breach of Covid restrictions in organising a golf society dinner has begun in county Galway.

Via RTE news:

Prosecution Barrister Eoghan Cole said amendments to the Health Act were contained in a number of Statutory Instruments passed in 2020. These clearly stated that no more than 50 people could attend an indoor event.

He said the prosecution case was that all four accused – Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish, former Fianna Fáil Senator Donal (Donie) Cassidy, along with James and John Sweeney of the Station House Hotel in Clifden – fit into the category of event organisers, and were in breach of the regulations in place.

Legal representatives for the accused contend that the status of Fáilte Ireland guidelines for the hospitality sector needed to be taken into account.

They say these allowed for separate gatherings in separate rooms, and that such measures were put in place for the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner.

They have argued that guidelines had the imprimatur of the State and as such were valid determinants of how the rules should be interpreted….

The trial is expected to last five days and some 50 witnesses are listed. Gulp, etc.

Four standing trial over alleged roles in Oireachtas golf dinner event (RTÉ)


From top: Donie Cassidy and Noel Grealish

This afternoon.

Recall Golfgate?

A trial will be held in January with an expected 50 witnesses.

Via RTE News:

Independent TD Noel Grealish, 55, from Carnmore in Galway and former Fianna Fáil senator Donie Cassidy, 76 from The Square, Castlepollard in Westmeath, were summoned before the court.

John Sweeney, 61, owner of the Station House Hotel in Clifden, and his son James, 32, the general manager of the hotel, were also before the court on a similar summons.

The four face a similar summons that on 19 August 2020 they organised, or caused to be organised, an event that contravened a penal provision of a regulation made under Section 31A (1) of the Health Act 1947 as amended, to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the spread of Covid-19.

The offence, contrary to Section 31A(6)(a) and (12) of the Health Act 1947 (as amended by Section 10 of the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020), is punishable by a fine of up to €2,500 and/or six months in prison.

More than 50 witnesses in trial over golf society dinner (RTÉ)



Berlin bar Dame Lane, Dublin 2

This evening.

It’s like the 1930s in, er, Berlin.

‘Boozy brunch’ bar loses licence over Covid breaches (RTÉ)


From top: Donie Cassidy and Noel Grealish are being prosecute under the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020

This afternoon.

Further to Golfgate…

Via Independent.ie

Former Fianna Fáil TD Donie Cassidy and Independent TD Noel Grealish will be summonsed before a Co Galway district court in relation to allegations that they organised the event.

Mr Cassidy was the chairman of the society and Mr Grealish was the president. The two other people to be prosecuted are not public figures and were involved in the organisation of the dinner at the management at the hotel in Clifden, Co Galway.

Two politicians to be prosecuted for Golfgate dinner Independent.ie)


Mr Justice Woulfe was sitting yesterday for the first time as a judge in the three-judge Court of Appeal alongside Mr Justice Birmingham and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy. It was his first public hearing since Chief Justice Frank Clarke told him last November that, as a result of his attending a golf event that the chief justice felt had breached public guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19, he would not be listed to sit until February 2021.

Good times.

Justice Seamus Woulfe sits with judge who subjected him to ‘traumatic’ ordeal (BreakingNews)


Supreme Court Justice Seamus Woulfe

This morning.

Further to Golfgate…

Via Independent.ie

Sinn Féin is planning to table legislation which would introduce a cooling-off period for attorney generals before they could put their name forward for a position on senior courts.

The move follows the on-going controversy over the appointment of Fine Gael-supporting Attorney General Seamus Woulfe to the Supreme Court. Justice Minister Helen McEntee has been under pressure to answer questions on the appointment for three weeks.

However, so far Ms McEntee has refused to give a detailed explanation as to why she chose the long-time Fine Gael supporter for the Supreme Court ahead of three sitting judges. Meanwhile, former Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan, who was first told Mr Woulfe applied for the role after the General Election in March, is refusing to comment on his involvement in the controversial appointment.

Attorney generals may have to wait two years before applying for position on Supreme Court under proposed new law (Independent.ie)


Minister for Justice Helen McEntee says that she considered all names put before her for a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Ms McEntee, who was speaking on LMFM radio, said that there were “a number of names put before me” but refused to be drawn on the exact number.

She said there was “collective approval” at the Cabinet meeting when she recommended Justice Seamus Woulfe for the Supreme Court.

McEntee considered ‘a number of names’ for Supreme Court vacancy (RTÉ)

A motion to start a process to impeach Supreme Court judge Seamus Woulfe is the ‘only option’ open to opposition TDs to ensure accountability, RISE TD Paul Murphy says.

Deputy Murphy is bringing forward the motion in the Dáil this week, which – if passed – would allow TDs to begin examining whether Mr Justice Woulfe should be removed or not.

Motion To Impeach Woulfe Is Only Option Open To Us (Newstalk)


Chief Justice Frank Clarke (left) and Supreme Court Justice Séamus Woulfe

This afternoon.

“While it is important for the Chief Justice to respect the confidentiality and privacy of Mr Justice Woulfe, the correspondence did enclose a cogent medical report to the effect that he is not in a position to take part in the resolution process at this time.

“Accordingly, it was necessary to cancel the meeting.

“The Chief Justice is committed to bringing the process to a conclusion as early as it is possible and appropriate to do so.”

A statement issued on behalf of Chief Justice Frank Clarke

Medical report says Woulfe unable to take part in ‘Golfgate’ resolution process (Independent.ie)

Earlier: Dances With Woulfe

Chief Justice Frank Clarke has criticised Mr Justice Seamus Woulfe for his third postponement of a meeting about his role in Golfgate

This morning.

Further to yesterday’s postponement….

Via Irish Independent.

The Chief Justice and fellow Supreme Court judge Donal O’Donnell had been due to attend the meeting about Golfgate with Mr Justice Woulfe…Mr Justice Woulfe was to have been accompanied by “a judicial colleague of his choice”.

Instead this judge, who was not identified in the statement, met Mr Justice Clarke and Mr Justice O’Donnell and requested a further postponement on Mr Justice Woulfe’s behalf.

A statement from the Chief Justice’s office:

“As a result of what was said at that meeting, the Chief Justice has indicated that, very reluctantly, he is prepared to make one final postponement of the proposed meeting until Thursday,”

“The Chief Justice has indicated his very serious concern as to the damage which the continuation of this process is causing.

“The Chief Justice has made it clear that, should the meeting not go ahead as scheduled on Thursday, he will make alternative arrangements to convey his final views on the process to Mr Justice Woulfe.”

Seamus Woulfe given ultimatum after postponing ‘Golfgate’ meeting for a third time (Independent.ie)