From Michael Martin, To the Ordinary People of Ireland, Do what we Tell you, or Face the Courts; now off to Iveagh House, where is the Champagne, who care about what the Public think about “us”, we make the Laws???

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Gardai not investigating Government champagne party despite over 1,000 ordinary citizens being punished  48 mins ago


31st December 2021

Gardai are not investigating a Government champagne party held in breach of public health guidelines despite over 1,000 ordinary citizens being prosecuted for similar offences.

The decision was slammed last night by People Before Profit/Solidarity TD, Paul Murphy, who called for an immediate probe.

 Showing officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs clinking champagne glasses at a party with no social distancing or masks at a party during the height of lockdown last year caused outrage this week.

Last night the Government officially joined the condemnation of the party, saying the gathering “should not have taken place”.

A spokesman for An Garda Siochana told the Irish Mirror: “An Garda Síochána is not investigating any complaint as described.

“An Garda Síochána has no role in the enforcement of Public Health Guidelines.”

Deputy Murphy fumed: “Over 1,000 people were fined for either organising or attending house parties in the course of the pandemic.

“This champagne party in Iveagh House should be treated no differently.

“At the very least, people deserve to know whether the Gardai will be investigating this very flagrant breach of the regulations by senior civil servants.”

A spokesman for the Government said: “As the Department of Foreign Affairs acknowledged yesterday (WED), it did not meet the standards expected of it in June 2020, and a gathering of that nature should not have taken place.

“The Department has apologised and made it clear that lessons have been learned to ensure this cannot happen again.”A Government champagne party held in breach of public health guidelines© Irish Mirror A Government champagne party held in breach of public health guidelines

Meanwhile, Fine Gael TDs Ciaran Cannon and Helen McEntee, who were the junior ministers at the Department of Foreign Affairs at the time of the champagne celebration at Iveagh House, have both said they did not attend the controversial event.

The confirmation places additional pressure on their colleague, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, who has yet to state whether he attended the party at any point following Ireland’s election to the UN Security Council on June 17, 2020.

Mr Cannon yesterday (THURS) said that he was in Government Buildings when the following the UN Security Council bid election result was announced, but did not travel to Iveagh House for the celebration afterwards.

Mr Coveney also watched the announcement in Government Buildings but has not said whether he subsequently attended the event.

Yesterday, the Department of Foreign Affairs did not say if Mr Coveney had been present at the celebration, which was blamed on “a moment of happiness” following the UN Security Council bid election victory.

A spokesman for Ms McEntee, who is now the Minister for Justice, confirmed that she was not present at the gathering, which the department has said in an apology “did not meet the standards expected of it.”

The damning photograph taken at the party shows 20 senior officials and staff huddled closely together in an office at Iveagh House on June 17th last year, drinking Moët & Chandon without face masks or regard for physical distancing.

The picture was a ‘selfie’ taken by then-Secretary General Niall Burgess, who has since been appointed ambassador to France and Monaco.

It also featured then-Deputy Secretary General Brendan Rogers, who is now Ireland’s ambassador to the Netherlands.

John Concannon, who was head of Leo Varadkar’s controversial Strategic Communications Unit in 2017, also appeared in the photograph.

He is now director general of the department’s Global Ireland division. None were available for comment.

A one-month-old baby was also held aloft in the middle of the crowd for the photo.

The country was in the midst of a strict lockdown in response to a surge in Covid-19 infections at the time of the party.

People were confined to their own counties, and indoor gatherings of more than seven people were prohibited.

People were also asked to work from home where possible, and many were unable to attend the funerals of loved ones due to a limit of 25 on the number of people who could attend a service.

The Government had also published a protocol for returning to work, which emphasised the need to maintain physical distancing and avoid face-to-face contact in the workplace.

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