‘It is clear that Hogan breached guidelines’ – coalition leaders

The leaders of the three parties in the coalition government have said that it is “clear that breaches of public health guidelines were made” by European Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan on his recent stay in Ireland.

Following on from the commissioner’s appearance on RTÉ last night (Tuesday, August 25) and his publication of a timeline of his coming and going in Ireland, Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said they acknowledged these accounts.

“However, concerns remain,” the coalition leaders said in a joint statement.

It is clear that breaches of public health guidelines were made by Commissioner Phil Hogan since he travelled to Ireland.

“The government guidelines clearly required him to restrict his movements for 14 days. He should also have limited his movements to and from Kildare for essential travel only, and he should not have attended the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner,” the statement said.

It continued: “People are correctly angered by these actions given the sacrifices so many have made to adhere to public health guidance.

“In addition, his delayed and hesitant release of information has undermined public confidence,” the three party leaders argued.

They pointed out that the commissioner is accountable to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, under the framework outlined in EU treaties.

The government is awaiting the outcome of a review being carried out by President von der Leyen.

Ultimately, Commissioner Hogan is accountable to the European Commission President, and not to the Irish government.

On that RTÉ interview, Commissioner Hogan said he has made “big mistakes” in recent weeks but “broke no regulations”.

“I am satisfied, arising from the [Covid-19] test that I did that proved negative, that I was no risk to anybody,” he argued.