Senators who lost party whip over ‘Golfgate’ given committee places
3 hrs ago
Six Coalition senators who attended the infamous ‘Golfgate’ dinner have been appointed to Oireachtas committees – despite being stripped of their respective party whips just six weeks ago.
Fianna Fáil’s Paul Daly, Aidan Davitt and Niall Blaney and Fine Gael’s Jerry Buttimer, Paddy Burke and John Cummins are listed as representing their respective parties on seven different Oireachtas committees.
All six senators were among the 80 people who attended the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in the Station House Hotel in Clifden, Co Galway, on August 19.
The event is being investigated by gardaí over allegations that it breached Covid-19 public health restrictions.
Revelations of the dinner taking place led to a number of high-profile resignations, including Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary as agriculture minister and Phil Hogan as EU trade commissioner. Mr Buttimer also resigned as leas cathaoirleach of the Seanad.
The six senators were stripped of their party whip.
Traditionally this has meant TDs or senators lose entitlements afforded to them as party members, including office space assigned to the party, Dáil or Seanad speaking time and membership of committees.
However, details published on the Oireachtas website, show Mr Buttimer is a Fine Gael representative on the Transport and Communications Committee.
Mr Cummins has been appointed to the Housing and Local Government Committee as a Fine Gael representative.
Mr Burke, a former Seanad cathaoirleach, has been appointed to the Social Protection and Rural Development Committee. Mr Burke last month resigned as a member of the Oireachtas Commission – which came with a €9,500 salary top-up – over his attendance at the dinner after being asked to do so by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.
Mr Daly has been appointed to the Agriculture and Marine Committee and has also been made a member of the Seanad’s Committee on Procedure and Privileges.
Mr Davitt has been appointed to the Finance Committee, while Mr Blaney has been appointed to the Good Friday Agreement Committee.
The six senators are not entitled to any additional allowances as ordinary members of the committee.
Fine Gael had no comment on the appointments last night.
A Fianna Fáil spokesperson said yesterday: “There was a motion passed last week in Seanad that outlined the number of government (3) and non-government senators (2) to committees. In the interest of allowing all senators to take part in committees, these members included senators Paul Daly, Aidan Davitt and Niall Blaney as they would not have been included in the non-government senators list.”