Coronavirus: Irish agriculture minister apologises for event attendance


Dara Calleary wavingImage copyright
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Image caption

Dara Calleary replaced his predecessor Barry Cowan last month, following controversy over a drink-driving suspension

Irish Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary has apologised for going to an event attended by more than 80 people.

The Irish Examiner first reported that Mr Calleary was in attendance at the Oireachtas Golf Society event at a hotel in County Galway on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Republic of Ireland announced it would be tightening lockdown restrictions to deal with an increase in cases.

Mr Calleary apologised in a series of tweets on Thursday evening.

“In light of the updated public health guidance this week I should not have attended the event,” he said.

“I wish to apologise unreservedly to the public, from whom we are asking quite a lot at this difficult time. I also offer this apology and my sincere regret to my government colleagues.”

RTÉ reported that it is understood Mr Calleary has also apologised to the Taoiseach, and he has contacted the leaders of Fine Gael and the Green Party.

Updated guidelines

In tightening restrictions in the Republic of Ireland, the number of people able to attend an indoor gatherings was limited to six, with some exceptions.

Previously, indoor gatherings with up to 50 people had been permitted.

The 81 people at the County Galway event were split across two rooms.

James Sweeney, from the Station House Hotel where the event was held, told RTÉ he had checked with the Irish Hotels Federation to ensure the event was compliant.

He said he was told it would be if the guests were in two separate rooms, with fewer than 50 people in each.

Mr Calleary replaced Barry Cowan as Agriculture Minister last month after his predecessor was sacked over controversy around a drink-driving ban.



BBC News