| 4.7°C Dublin

'Very surprised' Ex-Fianna Fáil TD Donie Cassidy vows to ‘vigorously defend’ charge over Golfgate

Former Fianna Fáil TD Donie Cassidy, who along with Independent TD Noel Grealish allegedly organised the event, will be charged with breaches of Covid-19 ­regulations.

Close

Former TD Donie Cassidy. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Former TD Donie Cassidy. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Former TD Donie Cassidy. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

One of the politicians at the centre of the Golfgate controversy has vowed to “vigorously defend” himself in relation to alleged breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

Gardaí are prosecuting four people for arranging the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner. The penalty for the breaches are fines of up to €2,500 and up to six months in prison.

Former Fianna Fáil TD Donie Cassidy, who along with Independent TD Noel Grealish allegedly organised the event, will be charged with breaches of Covid-19 ­regulations.

Mr Cassidy and Mr Grealish will be summonsed before a Co Galway District Court in relation to allegations that they organised the event.

Mr Cassidy was the chairman of the society and Mr ­Grealish was the president.

The two other people to be prosecuted are not public figures and were involved in the organisation of the dinner at the Station House Hotel in Clifden, Co Galway.

Mr Cassidy told the Irish Independent that he was “disappointed” but any charge would be “vigorously defended”.

“I am very surprised at this development,” he said. “I am also disappointed. I have not received any charge or summons yet, and if I do, it will be vigorously defended.”

A Garda spokesman confirmed: “An Garda Síochána has received directions from the DPP in relation to the prosecution of four individuals for organising an event in contravention of health regulations at a commercial premises in Galway in August 2020.

Summons have been lodged with the courts, and District Court dates in relation to each of the individuals are awaited.”

The Garda criminal investigation into the infamous Golfgate dinner was completed last month and a file has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The investigation centred on whether more than 50 people attended the event.

The 80 guests at the dinner were split into separate partitioned areas in order to be categorised as separate gatherings, which was permitted at the time.

However, gardaí investigated both the organisers of the golf event dinner in Galway and management at the Station House Hotel in Clifden.

Several of the politicians who attended the event were also interviewed by gardaí.

The political fallout from the event led to the resignation of then agriculture minister Dara Calleary and six Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Senators losing the party whip.

Those six senators were readmitted to their respective parliamentary parties by Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar in January.

Then European Commissioner Phil Hogan also resigned from office following further controversy over his travels across the country.

Supreme Court Justice Séamus Woulfe, the former attorney general, came under intense pressure to resign his position.

However, a probe into Mr Woulfe’s case by former Chief Justice Susan Denham found there was no breach of the law in attending the event.

The organisers reassured those attending that the Covid-19 regulations were complied with and the hotel was using the guidelines for reopening hotels and guesthouses.

This week Mr Calleary said he does not expect any personal charges in relation to the Golfgate dinner.

“We’ll let the DPP decide,” he said.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Irish Independent


Privacy