Kilkenny councillor Martin Brett
A Kilkenny councillor who attended the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner on Wednesday evening says he apologises but he acted in good faith.
Fine Gael councillor Martin Brett was among the 80 or so people who went to the dinner in Clifden, Galway. Cllr Brett, who is the leas-Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, told the Kilkenny People that he had did not have any role in organising the event and was told it was within guidelines.
"We were told we were all right so we acted in good faith," he said.
"If I was wrong for attending, I attended in good faith, and I unreservedly apologise in good faith as well."
EU Commissioner Phil Hogan also attended, and this morning he Tweeted saying that he did so under the understanding the arrangements in place 'would be in compliance with guidelines'.
1) I attended the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner on Wednesday on the clear understanding that the organisers and the hotel concerned had been assured [by the Irish Hotels’ Federation] that the arrangements put in place would be in compliance with the government’s guidelines.— Phil Hogan (@PhilHoganEU) August 21, 2020
The event has provoked considerable debate and an investigation is under way into potential breach of public health guidelines. It's led to several high-profile political resignations this morning, with Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary and Seanad leas-cathaoirleach Jerry Buttimer both stepping down from their roles having attended. It is another major controversy for the government in the midst of a pandemic.
The event in Clifden came just one day after the government issued updated Covid-19 restrictions banning any indoor gathering of more than six people.
Meanwhile, the gardaí this morning confirmed it wass investigating an event that was held in County Galway on August, 19 into alleged breaches of The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No.3) Regulations 2020, as amended.