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24th Jun 2021

Micheál Martin “felt very sorry” for Dara Calleary after GolfGate scandal

Clara Kelly

“He would have been a fine Minister – and I think, will again have an opportunity into the future.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that he “felt very sorry” for Dara Calleary after the so-called GolfGate scandal.

During Virgin Media’s The Big Interview, the Taoiseach said that he was “very annoyed” about the highly controversial Oireachtas Golf Society gathering which saw 80 politicians break Covid-19 restrictions last August at Clifden in Galway.

“That was very difficult again, that early month was particularly difficult. I had just announced on the 18 August significant restrictions, and if you remember, particularly in Laois, Kildare, and Offaly, so GolfGate jarred with the public mood at the time,” he said.

“Government had brought in restrictions and the following day an event happened which certainly was not in accordance with them. I was very annoyed about it.

Martin also said that he thinks former Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary, who was at the front of the scandal, handled the situation in a way that will “do him well into the future”.

“To be fair to Dara Calleary he got on the phone straight away, fairly quickly, and we discussed it that evening and he said ‘look, I’ve made a very big mistake here and I’m very sorry’, and he resigned.

“And, I felt very sorry for him too because he was a great person, very committed to politics, had been all his life. Very strong parliamentarian… would have been a fine Minister – and I think will again have an opportunity into the future.”

Martin added that it was a “fairly difficult time” for the Government in terms of navigating through the pandemic, saying that he believes Dara did the right thing by admitting publicly that he made a “big mistake” and was “sorry for that”.

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