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Phil Hogan now admits he stopped in locked down Kildare on way to golf dinner


EU Commissioner Phil Hogan

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan travelled to Kildare while it was under lockdown before going to Galway to take part in the controversial Oireachtas Golf Society tournament and dinner, it can be revealed.

Mr Hogan was staying in a family member’s home in Kilkenny after receiving medical treatment before he travelled to Galway for the golf outing. Kildare was under local lockdown restrictions at the time and people were banned from leaving or entering the county for non essential reasons.

However, a spokesperson for the commissioner has confirmed Mr Hogan entered the lockdown county from Kilkenny to get “personal belongings and essential work documents” before driving to Galway to play golf.

“On his way from Kilkenny to Clifden, the Commissioner stopped briefly at his apartment in Kildare for the purpose of collecting personal belongings and essential work documents relating to negotiations which continued while he was in Galway,” a spokesperson said.

“The lockdown guidelines for Kildare provide for exceptional travel outside the county ‘to travel to work and home again,’” he added.

The revelation follows Tánaiste Leo Varadkar calling on Mr Hogan to give precise details of his movement since he arrived in Ireland on July 31.

The Tanaiste and Taoiseach Micheal Martin have called on Mr Hogan to consider his position in light of the fact he attend the controversial golf tournament that has had significant political consequence for those who attended.

Early Mr Hogan EU offered a "profound apology" for attending the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner.

However, despite the Taoiseach and Tánaiste telling him to consider his position, Mr Hogan seemed to be insisting on remaining in place saying he knows his attendance has "touched a nerve" with the public.

In the statement, he said he wished to "apologise fully and unreservedly" for attending the dinner event with 81 other people including Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary who has since resigned.

"I want, in particular, to apologise to the wonderful healthcare workers, who continue to put their lives on the line to combat Covid 19 and all people who have lost loved ones during this pandemic," Mr Hogan said.

"I acknowledge my actions have touched a nerve for the people of Ireland, something for which I am profoundly sorry, he added.

Me Hogan said he realises fully the "unnecessary stress, risk and offense" caused to the people over his attendance at such an event, at such a "difficult time for all".

"I acknowledge that the issue is far bigger than compliance with rules and regulations and adherence to legalities and procedures. All of us must display solidarity as we try to stamp out this common plague.

"I thus offer this fulsome and profound apology, at this difficult time for all people, as the world as a whole combats Covid 19," he added.

"I spoke to both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste yesterday and I have listened carefully to their views, which I respect. I have been reporting to the President of the European Commission on all these matters in recent days."

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