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Seamus Woulfe finally meets with Chief Justice Frank Clarke over 'Golfgate'

Four different meetings were postponed or cancelled by Woulfe in October. That meeting has now been held.

Chief Justice Frank Clarke with Seamus Woulfe.
Chief Justice Frank Clarke with Seamus Woulfe.
Image: PA Images

SUPREME COURT JUDGE Seamus Woulfe has finally met with Chief Justice Frank Clarke to discuss Woulfe’s attendance at the ‘Golfgate’ event, and subsequent comments that have been labelled as controversial. 

A courts spokesperson said that the meeting took place this afternoon at the Four Courts.

However, an official statement about the meeting won’t be issued until next week.

The judges were due to discuss the ongoing fallout over Woulfe’s attendance at the controversial ‘Golfgate’ dinner in Clifden in August where 81 people gathered in what is viewed as a breach of the public health guidelines at the time.

The two judges were due to meet on four separate occasions in October, but the planned meeting was postponed and eventually cancelled. Woulfe requested a postponement for “personal reasons” at first, and then later on “medical grounds”.

This meeting is part of the “informal resolution” that was recommended in a report to deal with Woulfe’s attendance at the Golfgate dinner, which resulted in the resignation of Dara Calleary as Agriculture Minister and Phil Hogan as the EU’s Trade Commissioner.

On Sunday, The Times reported that some Supreme Court judges have told Woulfe not all of his colleagues are happy or comfortable to sit alongside him on cases following the publication of the report former chief justice Susan Denham into his attendance at the golf dinner. 

Denham report

The review into Woulfe’s attendance at the dinner by Denham found it would be “unjust and disproportionate” for the judge to resign.

However, further controversy ensued after transcripts of an interview given by Woulfe to Denham in the course of the review were later released, and described media coverage of the scandal as “appalling” “overblown” and “fake”, with claims the social event was treated like the “Ku Klux Klan”.

Despite Woulfe issuing a statement where he apologised “unreservedly” for attending an event where breaches “may have occurred”, he said during this interview with Denham that though he apologised, he wasn’t sure what he had to apologise for.

He said: “If it still is the case that there was intentional breach on my part I obviously apologise, still apologise and apologise again. But it is fair to say that it appears now, objectively, that there was no breach by the organisers, let alone by me.”

Woulfe also said that he felt sorry for “some of the unfortunate politicians” who “feel the need to confess to a crime they may not have committed”. 

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In her report, Denham suggested that the fallout from the Golfgate controversy could be dealt with by way of an informal resolution. 

In July, Woulfe was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court – Ireland’s highest court – after he was replaced in his role as Attorney General by Paul Gallagher as part of the formation of a new government.

With reporting from Laura Byrne

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