Calleary’s attendance at golf event ‘wrong and an error of judgement’ – Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that Dara Calleary’s attendance at a golf society event was “wrong and an error of judgement”.

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

It was revealed yesterday (Thursday, August 20) that Minister Calleary attended an Oireachtas Golf Society event to celebrate its 50th anniversary, held at the Station House Hotel in Co. Galway on Wednesday night (August 19). 

In a statement this morning, the Taoiseach said that he has accepted Calleary’s resignation.

The statement reads:

“This morning deputy Dara Calleary tendered his resignation as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, following his attendance at the Oireachtas golf dinner on Wednesday evening.

“His attendance at this event was wrong and an error of judgement on his part. I have accepted his resignation.

“People all over the country have made very difficult, personal sacrifices in their family lives and in their businesses to comply with Covid regulations.

This event should not have gone ahead in the manner it did given the government decision of last Tuesday.

“Dara Calleary, since he was first elected to Dáil Eireann, has been, and remains, a committed and dedicated public representative. This error of judgement was out of character.

“He has made the right decision for the country, particularly in the light of our continued efforts to suppress Covid-19.”

Calleary took over brief from Barry Cowen

Mayo TD Calleary had been in the position for 37 days, having taken over the brief from Barry Cowen, who was the Minister for Agriculture for 17 days. Cowen was removed as minister following controversy surrounding his road traffic offence from 2016. Both Cowen and Calleary are Fianna Fáil TDs.

Calleary had been appointed to the junior cabinet position of government chief whip in the new government prior to being announced as the Minister for Agriculture.

Controversy still remains over other attendees at the event, including EU Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan.

‘I wish to apologise unreservedly’

In a statement last night on the matter, Calleary said:

“Last night I attended a function I committed to a number of weeks ago, having been asked to pay tribute to a person I respected and admired greatly.

“In light of the updated public health guidance this week, I should not have attended the event.

I wish to apologise unreservedly to the public, from whom we are asking quite a lot at this difficult time.

“I also offer this apology and my sincere regret to my government colleagues,” the statement concludes.