Taoiseach and Tánaiste tell Phil Hogan to ‘consider his position’ as EU Commissioner over Golfgate dinner

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar have asked Phil Hogan to 'consider his position'

Hugh O’Connell, Philip Ryan and Maeve Sheehan

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar have asked Phil Hogan to “consider his position,” heaping pressure on the EU Commissioner to resign over his attendance of a controversial Oireachtas Golf Society dinner.

The political crisis over the gala dinner that has outraged the nation has escalated after the two coalition leaders spoke with Mr Hogan on Saturday afternoon.

In a statement to the Sunday Independent, a Government spokesman confirmed: “The Taoiseach and the Tánaiste did speak with the Commissioner today and asked him to consider his position.

“They both believe that the event should never have been held, that the Commissioner’s apology came late and that he still needs to give a full account and explanations of his action.”

Mr Hogan’s representatives have not responded to requests for comment as the Commissioner flew back to Brussels earlier today.

The former Fine Gael Cabinet minister, who is in his second term as an EU Commissioner, has come under pressure after it emerged that he was one of over 80 current and former politicians, judges and lobbyists who attended the golf society at the Clifden Station House Hotel in Galway last Wednesday.

The dinner is under investigation by An Garda Síochána over alleged breaches of Covid-19 public health guidelines

Mr Hogan apologised for attending the dinner on Friday night - but only after Mr Martin called on him to do so on the RTÉ’s SixOne News.

Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary and Senator Jerry Buttimer have both already resigned from their positions after attending the controversial dinner.

Mr Calleary's resignation from Cabinet comes just 37 days after he was appointed to the Department of Agriculture after Taoiseach Micheál Martin sacked his predecessor Barry Cowen from the role amid controversy over a drink-driving offence.

The Taoiseach has removed the Fianna Fáil whip from senators Paul Daly, Aidan Davitt and Niall Blaney.

The Tánaiste has also removed the Fine Gael whip from three senators.

The whip has not been removed for any set period but it is understood it will be for an extended time.

Councillor Enda McGloin, who attended the event on Wednesday, also stepped down from his role as the Fine Gael whip on Leitrim County Council.

"I apologise unreservedly for my attendance at the dinner. I should not have attended in light of the public health guidelines. In line with the sanction on my Oireachtas colleagues I am informing my party leader that I am resigning the Fine Gael whip on Leitrim County Council," he said in a statement on Twitter.

Read more in tomorrow’s Sunday Independent for full details and analysis