Calleary: ‘I should have had the cop-on not to have gone’ to golf society event

Dara Calleary has said that he “should have had the cop-on not to have gone” to the Oireachtas Golf Society event; the event in which his attendance has ultimately led to his resignation as minister.

It was announced this morning (Friday, August 21) that Calleary resigned from the position of Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Last night, Calleary apologised for attending an event with more than 80 people this week, breaching the latest public health guidelines that were announced the previous day.

Also Read: Dara Calleary has resigned as Minister for Agriculture

Speaking on Midwest Radio this morning, Calleary apologised for making a “big mistake”.

“I should have had the cop-on not to have gone,” he said.

“That’s why I’ve taken the position I have.”

‘We were told that it was done in accordance with guidelines’

He said he went to the function because he “didn’t want to let people down”.

“I certainly didn’t expect 80 [people in attendance].

“We were told that it was done in accordance with guidelines – the tables were very spaced, there were two rooms effectively and social distancing was observed.

“I was part of the cabinet meeting that made the regulations on Tuesday, I should have been aware of them and I’m taking responsibility for that aspect as well.

It wasn’t in any way appropriate for a member of government to have ignored the regulations the way I did.

Calleary said that he had a “couple of conversations” with Taoiseach Micheál Martin on the matter, but “my own mind was coming around that I needed to say I messed up”.

“I thought about it right through the night [last night],” he continued.

“I have damaged the national effort to try and take on Covid-19; it was my call and my judgement at the end of the day [to resign].”

Calleary said that he acknowledged the work of frontline staff in his letter of resignation to the Taoiseach, adding that his actions “undermine that work”.

He said he will continue to work from the backbenches and has not yet discussed “or even thought about” the future of his position as deputy leader of Fianna Fáil. He said he would like to remain, but that it is Martin’s decision.

He added that Martin is “both angry and disappointed with him”.

Speaking about his time as Minister for Agriculture, Calleary concluded: “I was really excited about it – but someone else will now have that honour and privilege.”