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Donie Cassidy pictured in 2008. Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
Donie Cassidy

Oireachtas golf society president apologises over Clifden event

Former Fianna Fáil TD and Senator Donie Cassidy says he will fully cooperate with the garda investigation into the event.

THE PRESIDENT OF the Oireachtas Golf Society has apologised “unreservedly” for the hurt caused by a dinner attended by 81 people in Clifden earlier this week.

Former Fianna Fáil TD and Senator Donie Cassidy says he will fully cooperate with the garda investigation into the event.

In a statement to the Westmeath Examiner, Cassidy said the dinner was held “under the department guidelines confirmed to us on Wednesday morning by the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF)”.

He said: “I would like to apologise unreservedly on behalf of the Oireachtas Golf Society Committee for the hurt caused.

“It was not our intention to disregard Government or health authorities’ advice.”

He added: “I have been legally advised not to make any further comment at this time. I confirm that I will fully cooperate with the garda investigation.”

An Garda Síochána said it has launched an investigation into the controversial Oireachtas Golf Society event which took place on Wednesday night.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin yesterday described the event as a  ”monumental error of judgement” when commenting on the attendance by a number of members of the Oireachtas and other leading public figures at a golf dinner that reportedly breached Covid-19 guidelines.

Among the 81 attendees were Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary and Seanad Leas-Cathaoirleach Jerry Buttimer, both of whom have resigned. 

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan and Supreme Court Justice Seamus Woulfe – former Attorney General – also attended, and both have apologised.

Opposition parties, meanwhile, have called for the Dáil to be recalled following the controversy and after restrictions were extended in Co Kildare by two weeks. 

Martin said that he “understands fully” the anger people feel about the event in Clifden which drew widespread outrage across the country yesterday. 

“It should not have happened,” he said in an interview with RTÉ News, “calling it a monumental error of judgement on behalf of all of those who attended and I’m deeply disappointed myself at what transpired”. 

He said that Calleary’s resignation “was an important message to give”. 

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

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