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Dara Calleary resigns as Fianna Fáil deputy leader following golf dinner controversy

Calleary resigned from Cabinet last Friday over his attendance at a golfing dinner in Galway.

Dara Calleary (file photo)
Dara Calleary (file photo)
Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated Aug 24th 2020, 10:22 AM

FORMER AGRICULTURE MINISTER Dara Calleary has resigned as deputy leader of Fianna Fáil.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed the move on RTÉ radio this morning, as the fallout from last week’s infamous Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Galway continues.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien told RTÉ radio earlier that the Mayo TD’s position as deputy leader of the party was now the subject of discussions with the Taoiseach.

Calleary, who has held the position since 2018, was among a number of politicians who attended the Oireachtas Golf Society event in Clifden in Galway.

Eighty-one people attended the event, with the room divided into two. It was reported that up to 10 people were seated at tables at the event, which appears to have breached the government’s Covid-19 guidelines.

Calleary resigned from Cabinet last Friday after less than a month in the job, after it emerged he attended the event.

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Accepting his resignation on Friday, Martin said Calleary had “made the right decision for the country, particularly in the light of our continued efforts to suppress Covid-19″.

On Thursday night, Calleary apologised “unreservedly” for attending the event.

“In light of the updated public health guidance this week I should not have attended the event. I wish to apologise unreservedly to everyone. We are asking quite a lot from everyone at this difficult time,” Calleary said.

Meanwhile, former TD and senator Donie Cassidy has resigned as vice-president of Fianna Fáil amid the fall-out from the dinner.

Cassidy, who is also the president of the golf society, apologised on Saturday “for the hurt caused”.

In a statement, reported by RTÉ News, Cassidy confirmed that he had resigned from the role.

He said that the decision was in “light of the ongoing controversy surrounding the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Clifden, and due to the fact that the matter is subject to a garda investigation”.

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