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Taoiseach - Hogan ‘undermined whole approach to public health in Ireland’

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Taoiseach Micheál Martinin said: "In Europe there is a lot of anger towards this and the manner in which it happened. In Ireland there clearly is" Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Taoiseach Micheál Martinin said: "In Europe there is a lot of anger towards this and the manner in which it happened. In Ireland there clearly is" Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Taoiseach Micheál Martinin said: "In Europe there is a lot of anger towards this and the manner in which it happened. In Ireland there clearly is" Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has said Phil Hogan “undermined the whole approach to public health in Ireland” with his movements around the country in recent weeks.

Mr Martin said Mr Hogan’s “changing narrative” was a “significant difficulty” for the Government but declined to explicitly state it had lost confidence in the Commissioner or that he should resign.

Mr Martin was speaking amid doubts over Mr Hogan’s future as EU Trade Commissioner over his attendance at an Oireachtas Golf Society and movements around Ireland in the days leading up to that event.

“We’ve made very clear our anger and annoyance,” he said. “We’ve made that very clear.”

The Irish Government believes that Mr Hogan breached public health restrictions - a claim denied by the former Fine Gael Cabinet Minister. Mr Hogan’s future is set to be determined by European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, who is studying the Commissioner's account of his movements.

Mr Martin said there was “considerable resistance” to the idea of national governments seeking to influence the Commission President about the removal of a commissioner. He said the commissioner is accountable to the Commission, not to the Oireachtas or the Government.

“We’re very clear in terms of the importance of ensuring we’re not seeking to influence the President of the Commission,” he said

Asked if the Commissioner should resign he said he was not going beyond the statement issued by the three Coalition leaders on Tuesday night. He said: “He has undermined the whole approach to public health in Ireland.”

Mr Martin said he hadn’t contacted the President of the Commission nor had any official on his behalf.

Mr Martin was speaking after inspecting the Covid readiness of a St Fiachra’s National School on Beaumont, north Dublin.

“Children’s life chances are damaged if they are out of school too long,” he said.

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