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17th Feb 2021

Four people to face prosecution over Golfgate event last year

Alan Loughnane

Cyclist Dublin

82 people attended the controversial dinner in Clifden last August.

Four people are to face prosecution over alleged breaches of Covid-19 regulations at the Oireachtas Golf Society’s dinner in Galway last August.

A file in relation to the political controversy was forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions last month by An Garda Síochána.

Gardaí have now said they have received direction from the DPP in relation to the “prosecution of four individuals for organising an event in contravention of health regulations at a commercial premises in Galway in August 2020”.

“Summons have been lodged with the Courts and District Court dates in relation to each of the individuals are awaited,” Gardaí said in a statement on Wednesday.

The penalty for the breaches are fines of up to €2,500 and up to six months in prison.

Gardaí began an investigation into “alleged breaches” of the Covid-19 temporary restrictions following the event on 19 August last year.

A politcal storm unfolded after it emerged that 82 people had attended the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Clifden, just 24 hours after the government had announced tighter public health restrictions to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dara Calleary subsequently resigned as Minister for Agriculture and Phil Hogan resigned as European Commissioner after it was confirmed they had attended the dinner.

Also at the event were Supreme Court Judge Seamus Woulfe, Independent TD for Galway West Noel Grealish, six senators from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil and former RTÉ broadcaster Sean O’Rourke.

However, three Fine Gael senators who lost the party whip over their attendance at the infamous event had their membership reinstated last month.

Jerry Buttimer, Paddy Burke and John Cummins were reinstated following a motion from party leader Leo Varadkar.

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