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Free as a Birdie All charges in ‘Golfgate’ hotel dinner trial are dismissed

The trial of two prominent politicians and two hoteliers over alleged breaches of the health act at the dinner had resumed earlier today at Galway District Court.

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Independent TD Noel Grealish arriving at Galway court to attend a hearing where he is one of four people said to have breached Covid restrictions by organising an Oireachtas Golf Society event (PA)

Independent TD Noel Grealish arriving at Galway court to attend a hearing where he is one of four people said to have breached Covid restrictions by organising an Oireachtas Golf Society event (PA)

Independent TD Noel Grealish arriving at Galway court to attend a hearing where he is one of four people said to have breached Covid restrictions by organising an Oireachtas Golf Society event (PA)

All charges in the ‘Golfgate’ trial over the Oireachtas Golf Society event in a Clifden hotel have been dismissed this afternoon.

The trial of two prominent politicians and two hoteliers over alleged breaches of the health act at the dinner had resumed earlier today at Galway District Court.

An invitation to the Oireachtas Golf Society event in Clifden described the two-day golf affair as a ''four-ball Stableford champagne competition with a gala dinner to follow.''

The accused included the alleged organisers, Independent TD Noel Grealish (55), of Carnmore, Co Galway, and former Fianna Fáil senator Donie Cassidy (75), of Castlepollard, Co Westmeath.

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Donie Cassidy arriving at Galway Courthouse for the Oireachtas Golf Society hearing. Photo by Steve Humphreys 3rd February 2022

Donie Cassidy arriving at Galway Courthouse for the Oireachtas Golf Society hearing. Photo by Steve Humphreys 3rd February 2022

Donie Cassidy arriving at Galway Courthouse for the Oireachtas Golf Society hearing. Photo by Steve Humphreys 3rd February 2022

Both men faced a single charge that on August 19, 2020, they organised an event that contravened the Health Act 1947, as amended, to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the spread of Covid-19.

John Sweeney (61), the owner of the Station House Hotel in Clifden, Co Galway, and his son James (32), the hotel's general manager, faced the same charge.

The offence on conviction is punishable by a fine of up to €2,500 and six months in prison.

This morning, Garda Inspector Peter Conlon of the Protective Services Unit in Galway resumed his evidence at Galway District Court.

Among the items presented to the trial was the invitation received by Golf Society members to the golf competition and gala dinner on August 19, 2020.

It was described as a 'Four-ball Stableford Champagne Competition with a gala dinner to follow.''

More to follow

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