Call for probe into attendance of senior officials at ‘Golfgate’ dinner
Request: Seán Ó Fearghaíl has been asked to investigate. Photo: Tom Burke
September 11 2020 02:30 AM
Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl has been asked to investigate the attendance of senior Oireachtas officials at the ‘Golfgate’ dinner.
Captain of the Guard John Flaherty, a senior Leinster House official who oversees the management of the complex, and Cáit Hayes, head of protocol in the Oireachtas, both attended the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Clifden last month.
Sinn Féin has asked the Dáil chairman to investigate whether or not staff attended in a personal capacity and whether they are responsible for compliance with Covid-19 guidelines in Leinster House.
In an email to Mr Ó Fearghaíl, Sinn Féin TD Pat Buckley asked that the matter be probed by either the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission or the Committee of Procedures and Privileges (CPP).
Mr Buckley said it should be established “on what basis, in their capacity as a public servant or in a personnel [sic] capacity, were they present”.
He added: “I am aware from media commentary of at least one such employee but I am unaware of any action being taken on foot of the reports of their presence at an event where the public health Covid-19 guidance and rules were blatantly flaunted.
“A short investigation is required I believe to determine if any of those public servants had a role in the Houses’ Covid-19 compliance team, so as to reassure the staff and the members and the public that senior public servants aren’t above reproach, and that we expect the same standards of them as is expected from our public representatives, in fulfilling their roles.”
Mr Flaherty has responsibility for health and safety in the Oireachtas but this does not include Covid-19 compliance, it is understood. An Oireachtas spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment regarding Mr Buckley’s email.
They have previously said two office holders attended the dinner in a private capacity: “We have a long-standing policy whereby we don’t discuss individual staff.”
FRED says: or maybe he is just asking for some clarification: – Is Cait Hayes the sister of Brian Hayes who, it is alleged, invited people from “Vulture Funds” to the GolfGate elite gathering and whose names are not forthcoming yet. Brian Hayes former MEP, is now Chief Executive of the banking sector lobby group.
Ireland appears to have lost sight of the Rule of Law; and most importantly in this GolfGate scandal, so has the Separation of Powers ie the Three Pillars. Phil Hogan and Darragh Calleary were tracked and the media storm was relentless; they were hunted out of office. They are covered by the pillar Executive. However the law appears to be different as Supreme Court Judge Woulfe’s tentacles remain firmly entrenched to his position in the Supreme Court while former MEP Brian Hayes has successfully ducked every opportunity to name his guests. The question is Why? The Fourth Pillar to our Constitution is implied; it is our media. Surely by now Justice Denning should have made her decision and realistically the people of Ireland need to ask if it is hard to understand why Phil Hogan is hunted from his important role as an EC Commissioner responsible for Trade while we yet have to hear the decision relating to a member of the Judiciary.