Ian Patrick, FISM News
Ireland’s agriculture minister Dara Calleary resigned on Friday after he said he had damaged the national effort in fighting COVID-19 by attending a social event that could have breached health regulations.
Calleary was among more than 80 guests at a hotel dinner hosted by the Irish parliament’s golf society, the night after he and his cabinet colleagues significantly tightened nationwide restrictions to try to rein in a rise in infections. Ireland has maintained some of the strictest controls in Europe and the government faced criticism all week for what many saw as poorly communicated and contradictory new restrictions, including limiting indoor gatherings to just six people.
“I want to apologize to everyone… I have damaged the national effort to try and take on COVID,” Calleary told his local radio station, Midwest Radio. “I’ve let people down, I’ve angered a lot of people, I’ve stressed a lot of people who have had to make very difficult calls over the last six months.”
Prime Minister Micheál Martin accepted his resignation, saying Calleary made the right decision for the country and that the event should never have gone ahead. Police said they were investigating the event for alleged breaches of public health regulations.
Phil Hogan, Ireland’s representative on the EU’s executive for the last six years, also attended and said in a statement that he went to the dinner on the clear understanding that the hotel had been assured the arrangements in place would comply with guidelines. He added that he had complied fully with travel restrictions to self-isolate for 14 days, having been in Ireland since late July.
Sourced from Reuters America Wire, edited for brevity.