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Leo Varadkar: 'The event organised by the Oireachtas Golf Society should not have happened'

Varadkar confirmed that the party whip has been removed from three of his party’s senators.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the event should not have happened (file photo)
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the event should not have happened (file photo)
Image: RollingNews.ie

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has criticised the Oireachtas Golf Society event that led to the resignation of Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary and a series of apologies from others this morning.

The Fine Gael leader also confirmed that the party whip has been removed from three of his party’s senators who attended the controversial event on Wednesday night.

Senators Jerry Buttimer, Paddy Burke and John Cummins were among a number of politicians at the event, which was attended by more than 80 people in Galway.

Eighty-one people are said to have attended the event, with the room divided into two. The Irish Examiner, which first reported the story, alleged that up to 10 people were seated at tables.

The event appears to have breached public health guidelines, which state that no events, parties or gatherings involving more than six people should be held indoors.

In a statement on Twitter, Varadkar said the event should not have been held and that he understood the difficulty that months of Covid-19 restrictions have had for people.

“Funerals, christenings, weddings, family holidays and other really important family occasions have been foregone to protect each other and the most vulnerable,” he said.

“As representatives we should lead by example.”

Buttimer and Cummins have since apologised for attending the event, with the former resigning as Leas-Cathaoirleach of the Seanad.

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris also condemned politicians’ attendance at the event.

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Posting on Twitter minutes after Leo Varadkar’s statement the former Health Minister wrote: “We have all worked so hard for so long. People have sacrificed so much. I am struggling to put words on how shocking & upsetting I find what has happened.

“People are gutted & anger is palpable. I feel that too. But we can’t let this stop us all working to keep each other safe.”

Gardaí this morning confirmed they have launched an investigation into the event. 

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