‘I’m hugely embarrassed about attending Golf Gate dinner but I didn’t really know I was breaking restrictions’ – Brian Hayes
CEO of the Banking & Payments Federation of Ireland said he will not be resigning
BPFI chief executive Brian Hayes
October 20 2020 07:13 PM
Brian Hayes, CEO of the Banking & Payments Federation of Ireland, said that he “didn’t really” know he was breaking rules when attending the Golf Gate dinner.
The gathering of 81 people took place on August 19 in Clifden, which was going against public health guidelines at the time.
Along with Brian Hayes, other high-profile attendees at the event included the European Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan, Supreme Court judge Séamus Woulfe and Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary.
“I know at the time there were two very large rooms and an attempt was made from the organisers and the hotel concerned,” Mr Hayes said on RTÉ Radio One’s Drivetime.
“I knew there was a second function room and there was a clear partition between them.”
Mr Hayes added that he wished he would have turned back after recognising that there were more than 50 people at the dinner.
He then said he “didn’t really” know he was breaking restrictions and that he is “hugely embarrassed” for going to the dinner and apologises “unreservedly”.
When asked if he considered resigning like other high profile Oireachtas members who attended the function, he said yes but that he isn’t going to resign.
“I did [consider resigning] but after speaking with our board it wasn’t the appropriate thing to do. I thought the right thing to do was to apologise and stick with it,” he said.
“I had a very long conversation with my employer and that’s a private conversation between them and myself and they accepted my apology.”
Mr Hayes said he recognsies that it caused “a huge amount of angst in the country” and apologises for that.
However, he added that all he can tell is the truth and that he knows “others want to depict it in another way but that’s a matter for other people.”