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Phil Hogan may look for compensation from the EU over his resignation in August 2020. Alamy Stock Photo

Phil Hogan may seek compensation over resignation during golfgate saga

Hogan has spoken to a French newspaper about his interactions with Ursula von der Leyen as the controversy raged.

FORMER EU COMMISSIONER Phil Hogan has suggested he may seek compensation from the European Commission over his resignation amid the golfgate controversy.

Hogan resigned from the trade commissioner role in August 2020 after attending the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner and as revelations about his movements during severe pandemic restrictions emerged.

The resignation followed a demand from Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to account for his time in Ireland around the society event.

In an interview published in the French newspaper Libération, Hogan, a former senior Fine Gael minister, suggests he could take action against the Commission over the matter.

Libération’s Europe Correspondent Jean Quatremer writes that Hogan “did not rule out the idea of demanding compensation for the damage suffered”.

The paper says Hogan met von der Leyen three times in four days as the controversy raged in August 2020.

Hogan told the newspaper that von der Leyen saw the intervention of Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan as crucial in his eventual departure.

The Kilkenny politician is quoted as saying that he felt “that she [von der Leyen] 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.”

Quatremer’s piece notes that it was pointed out in the meeting that social media in Ireland was calling for Hogan to resign.

Von der Leyen reportedly urged Hogan to resign, outlining that the fact that he obeyed the law “does not resolve the way his behaviour was perceived”.

In the Libération interview, Hogan said he sat next to the former Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary during the golf dinner, who, he said: “participated in the Government meeting which decided on the new restrictions.”

Hogan previously apologised for attending the controversial dinner in Clifden, Co Galway, but denied that he breached Covid-19 quarantine rules.

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