EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan has apologised for attending a golf dinner in his native Ireland the day after the country’s parliament voted to ban such gatherings, as pressure mounted on him to resign.
Micheál Martin, Ireland’s prime minister, and Leo Varadkar, deputy premier, issued a joint statement on Saturday night calling on Mr Hogan to consider his position.
The move followed a clamour from opposition parties over a dinner the commissioner attended with 81 people that was organised by a golf society in the Irish parliament. The affair has been dubbed “golfgate” in Irish political circles.
The Irish government said in a Friday statement that Mr Hogan needed “to give a full account and explanations of his actions”.
Mr Hogan, Ireland’s member of the European Commission since 2014, has told allies he intends to stay in post. In a statement on Sunday, he offered a “fulsome and profound apology” for the situation, saying: “I realise fully the unnecessary stress, risk and offence caused to the people of Ireland by my attendance at such an event, at such a difficult time for all.”
Mr Hogan confirmed in the statement that he had spoken both to the prime minister and deputy