Phil Hogan: ‘I broke no regulations, in my view’

Under-fire European Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan told RTÉ this evening (Tuesday, August 25) that he has made “big mistakes” in recent weeks but “broke no regulations”.

Earlier today, the commissioner provided the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, with a timeline of his movements and activities in Ireland since his return from Brussels at the end of July.

In an interview on RTÉ Six One News this evening, Hogan said: “I am satisfied arising from the test that I did that proved it was negative that I was no risk to anybody.”

Both the Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar have previously urged Hogan to consider his position following his attendance at an Oireachtas Golf Society event at a hotel in Clifden last week.

However, the Irish government has no say in whether Commissioner Hogan retains his seat in the European Commission; a decision that falls to President von der Leyen.

Speaking on RTÉ, he continued:

“Because of the fact that I had a negative test; because my medical people said I was no risk to anybody; I checked with the Citizens Information website which is funded by the HSE and I felt that I was no risk to anybody by going to Adare.

I understand the perception. I was covered by the regulations that my work-related activities and under the regulation there is a reasonable excuse mechanism that allowed me the exemption to do that.

“In hindsight I was wrong and made a mistake…and I apologise for it. I am embarrassed about it.

“I should have issued a fulsome apology on the Friday when all of this was breaking. I did not do so, and I regret that. I apologised strongly on Sunday and I did that in as fulsome a way as I possibly could.

“I broke no regulations in my view; I did my work; I was home on holidays; I tested negative for Covid-19; but I did not break any Covid-19 regulations.

“I apologise profusely to the people of Ireland and I hope they will accept that.”

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