Tag Archives: Phil Hogan

This evening.

More as we get it.

UPDATE:

All better.

Pause.

RESIGN!

Update:

Gulp.

From top: Mick Barry, Paul Reid, Dr Colm Henry and Michael McNamara

This morning.

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response.

Solidarity/People Before Profit TD Mick Barry raised Phil Hogan and his Golfgate movements with the expert panel…

Mick Barry: “I have some questions for Mr [Paul] Reid. I do want to ask some questions about the situation with schools but before I do, I’m going to ask some questions about quarantine? The European Commissioner travelled to this state from a non-green list country. He has justified breaking the 14-day quarantine on the grounds of having had a negative Covid test. Now I think the answer to this question is probably fairly obvious but I think it’s important that we hear from the chief of the HSE. So the question is: Did he break HSE guidelines by doing so?”

Paul Reid, CEO HSE: “Deputy just to come back very briefly, I might ask my colleague Dr Colm Henry just on the specific guidelines. Just to say, obviously, he’s a public servant. I’m not going to encroach into the area of any kind of political comment. What I will say is our guidelines and guidance are very clear both on the HSE site and indeed there is more in-depth guidance on the HPSC site – that would be the go-to site in terms of information both in terms of travel and both in terms of testing and testing negative and it’s very clear on the site. So I just ask Dr Henry to clarify it.”

Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE: “Thank you, deputy, the advice… is clear in this regard. People coming to Ireland from non-green list countries restrict their movements for 14 days, irrespective of tests performed either abroad or here.”

Later (after Mr Barry attempted to raise an article in The Irish Times  about two women having seen Mr Hogan at the K Club. One of the women told the newspaper that she saw Mr Hogan having dinner at the K Club on the night of Friday, July 31.  Mr Hogan has claimed he flew into Ireland on July 31 and self-isolated until August 5. In response to his attempt chair of the committee Michael McNamara told Mr Barry to stay within the committee’s terms of reference.).

Barry: “Let me put it this way, if someone were to be staying in a complex, a hotel complex with apartments within a timeframe of a 14-day quarantine and they were to stay at that complex but to dine in a public restaurant and other public places within that complex. Would that constitute a breach of the 14-day quarantine?”

Chairman Michael McNamara: “I don’t really think it’s fair to say that we’re talking in generalities here because we’re not from your first question and I return…I’m happy…if this is within the terms of reference I’m happy to have it discussed but I’m very keen to remain within our terms of reference, Deputy Barry.”

Barry: “Chair, I would like an answer to the question. I’m not naming any individual. I’m saying that if someone were to be within a hotel complex or an apartment, within a 14-day quarantine…”

McNamara: “You’re asking this question in the context of a political controversy that’s ongoing. It is.”

Reid: “All of our guidance is on our site. I’m happy to circulate it again to the committee but it’s very clear on the site.”

McNamara: “Where it is on the site…because, I mean, I, at one point, went to find it and I found it remarkably difficult to find the guidance. I’m not suggesting for a moment it’s not on your site but where is it? Because the guidance does change as the medical advice changes in response to what is a changing scenario. Where is it available on the HSE website? I’m conscious of the fact Deputy Barry has two minutes left. Maybe I’ll come back to that and let Deputy Barry, let him finish his time…”

Earlier: Easy Pickings

Update:

European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan’s statement and timeline with no mention of visiting Limerick on August 12; Dunraven Arms Hotel, Adare, County Limerick (top left)

Meanwhile…

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan stayed in a Limerick hotel and ate at a restaurant in Adare on August 12, one day before his 14-day isolation period was due to expire.

Multiple sources have confirmed to the Irish Examiner that Mr Hogan stayed in the Dunraven Arms Hotel on the night before he played a round of golf at Adare Manor.

Golfgate: Phil Hogan was in Limerick day before mandatory isolation due to expire (Irish Examiner)

Earlier: Essential Or Non-Essential?

Too Phil To Fail?

Update:

Tonight.

Update:

Get him.

Meanwhile

Um.

Update:

Ah here.

UPDATE:

Gulp.

Update:

Thanks for clearing that up, Phil.

Did EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan breach European Commission rules on document security

It doesn’t rain but it pours.

Further to Golfgate….

…William Campbell, host of podcast Here’s How writes (full article at link below):

‘Phil Hogan’s spokesperson, in their defence of his shifting story of how he drove laps around Ireland, in and out of Covid hot-spot Kildare, said that the reason for him visiting his apartment in the K Club was that:

“He stopped briefly at his apartment to collect personal belongings and essential documents relating to the EU-US trade negotiations, which continued while the Commissioner was in Galway.”

…A European Commission spokesperson confirmed they have a detailed policy, Security Notice C(2019) 1904, for dealing with confidential documents, and that the documents in question were in the category “sensitive non-classified”.

The problem for Hogan is how could documents so trivial as not to be covered by Commission document security rules, still meet the ‘essential work’ standard in the lockdown rules.

…The EC spokesperson also confirmed that the commissioner’s home in Brussels got a security audit, but not his other residences, and said that, as per their policy, these documents must only be distributed on a need-to-know basis, that all recipients should be aware of the handling instructions, and the documents must be shredded to a particular standard when no longer needed.

And where possible, documents should be stored in a locked office or a locked cupboard when not in use.

Phil Hogan drove to Covid-stricken Kildare and picked up these sensitive documents, perhaps from a locked office or a locking document cupboard in his apartment, that’s not clear.

He then drove with them to the golf dinner in Galway. Then what? Maybe he left them in his car, but that certainly doesn’t meet the handling requirements.

Maybe he had a hotel room and he left them there. Or maybe he just kept them in his jacket pocket, or under the table in his briefcase as he downed the gargle.

These requirements are not suggestions. The Commission has confirmed that the document handling rules are binding and apply to all staff and commissioners.’ (continued below)

Phil Hogan May have Broken EC Document Security Rules (William Campbell, here’s How)

Earlier: Too Phil To Fail

Rollingnews

EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan

1pm UPDATE: EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan has provided around 20 pages of documents to the President of the European Commission in the ongoing controversy over his trip to Ireland and the Clifden golf dinner, according to an EU official.  The documents include guidelines from the Irish Hotels Federation and a map of Ireland showing individual counties.

Earlier…

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has given a deadline of 1pm Dublin time to Phil Hogan to submit a full account of his movements in Ireland.

Earlier…

It has emerged that following [EU Commission President] Urulsa von der Leyen’s request there were “further contacts” but an EU source last night sounded a pessimistic note saying they “could not say whether she received all clarifications or not

There are growing doubts among senior Ministers that Mr Hogan can hold on to his role as EU trade commissioner.

Doubts grow in Dublin, Brussels over Phil Hogan’s future amid controversy over golf event travel (Irish Times)

Alternatively…

Hogan could, in theory, be dismissed by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. But it is hard to see what advantage she could accrue from toppling her trade commissioner and destabilizing her administration for the sake of calming a political storm in a country that accounts for only 1.1 percent of the EU’s population.

Only once has a commissioner been obliged to resign — Malta’s John Dalli in 2012, amid allegations that the tobacco industry sought to bribe the then commissioner for health to alter proposed legislation.

No such corruption is involved in the case of the golf society dinner. The allegation is rather one of rank hypocrisy: that the politicians in attendance were ignoring the coronavirus measures they had imposed on others.

Why Phil Hogan will survive ‘golfgate’ (Politico)

Rollingnews

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has sought further Golfgate details and clarifications from Ireland’s EU Commissioner Phil Hogan

This morning/afternoon.

Following growing calls for Phil Hogan to resign his post as Ireland EU Trade Commissioner….

Via RTÉ news:

“This is a matter which requires careful assessment on our side. This is a matter where details count,” spokesperson Dana Spinant told a news briefing this morning.

“Therefore, the president has required Commissioner Hogan to provide a full report. The president has received such a report from Commissioner Hogan last night. She is now looking at it… the president has requested further clarifications because details are important and she wishes to have them.”

Ms Spinant added that it was difficult for the Commission to establish if Mr Hogan’s reported movements between Kildare, Kilkenny and Galway were in line with Irish regulations, “which differ county to county”.

Pressed by reporters on the issue of Mr Hogan being cautioned by gardaí for using his mobile phone while driving, Ms Spinant said traffic incidents are for local police authorities to address.

EU President Von der Leyen seeking further details from Hogan (RTÉ)

Previously: Big Phil And Little Séamus

Getty

Ireland’s EU Commissioner Phil Hogan (left) and Supreme Court Justice Séamus Woulfe

This morning.

RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne.

The Taoiseach said he made it clear to Mr Hogan in a phone call the anger on the ground over the golf society dinner.

Mr Martin said given there is a discrepancy between Mr Hogan’s statements, he needs to know that the restrictions in Kildare were not breached.

He said the information on Mr Hogan being stopped in Kildare was passed to the Department of Justice by the Garda Commissioner, which is at his discretion, but it raised concerns that a breach of restrictions may have possibly occurred.

….The Taoiseach said Mr Justice Séamus Woulfe should not have been at the event, but this is something the judiciary needs to look at.

Tapiseach To Discuss Return Of Dáil (RTÉ)

Meanwhile….

Midlands North-West MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan told Newstalk that Commissioner Hogan’s position is no longer tenable.

“Micheál Martin got rid of Dara Calleary for doing the exact same thing,” he said.

“So now Micheál Martin needs to talk to [Ursula Von der Leyen and tell her that Phil Hogan needs to be removed from his position.e,

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett noted that Judge Woulfe would have had a clear understanding of COVID-19 guidelines through both his current position and his former position as Attorney General of the previous Government.

The former Attorney General now Supreme Court Judge had signed off on the emergency legislation around COVID-19 and would have been familiar in detail with the public health restrictions and yet was involved in a flagrant violation of those restrictions,” he said.

“It is completely untenable that he would not be held to account for that.”

Increasing Calls For Phil Hogan And Séamus Woulfe To Resign (Newstalk)

Saturday: Woulfe Trapped

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

In fairness.

Tonight.

Following the Taoiseach’s call for an apology, a spokesperson for Mr Hogan said he would not have attended had he thought that the event did not comply with Government guidelines.

“The Commissioner apologises for the distress caused by his participation,” said the spokesperson.

Earlier…

 EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan

Um

Blame the hotel.

Sure why not?

Earlier: Par For The Course

Meanwhile…

Ah, Phil.

Earlier:  Resigned [Updated]

“An Unintended But Serious Lapse Of Judgment”

Put Your Dukes Up

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