Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has said that the fact that Micheál Martin is taking over the agricultural brief is “totally unacceptable”.

Fitzmaurice gave his reaction to AgriLand after the news that Dara Calleary had resigned from his role as minister for agriculture, food and the marine following his attendance at an event in Clifden, Co. Galway, that breached public health guidelines set out for Covid-19.

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Fitzmaurice commented: “Agriculture in Ireland accounts for €13 billion in exports, which means it’s a huge industry in the country and we need a minister appointed straight away.

We need a recall of the Dáil to ratify the appointment of a new minister because we cannot have limbo again for three weeks at least before the Dáil is to come back.

“We cannot have limbo with one of the biggest sectors in Ireland lacking a minister to run it.

“It’s actually a joke to think that a Taoiseach, who is caught up with the Covid-19 situation in its entirety, would even have time to be involved in the agricultural sector.

“The situation is untenable and Micheál Martin must show leadership straight away,” Fitzmaurice concluded.

Gardaí investigation

Gardaí have launched an investigation into the Oireachtas Golf Society event which was attended by notable political figures including Calleary and EU Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan.

In a very brief statement, Gardaí said: “An Garda Síochána is investigating an event that was held in Co. Galway on August 19, 2020, into alleged breaches of The Health Act 1947 [Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions] [Covid-19] [No.3] Regulations 2020, as amended.”

“As this is an active investigation, An Garda Síochána has no further comment,” the statement added.