Taoiseach Micheāl Martin called the Oireachtas Golfing Society Dinner a “monumental error of judgement” for all who attended and said he “fully understands” the anger of the public in relation to the event.
Mr Martin made the comments on RTÉ Six One News on Friday. The Taoiseach said he did not expect the incident and said it was very wrong.
“I understand fully the anger of so many people across the country because so many people across the country have sacrificed so much in their personal lives and family lives, in their businesses, to protect each other and to suppress this virus,”
Mr Martin said the actions of the 82 people who attended the dinner “compromised and potentially undermined” the clear communication of the public health message that we need to reduce our contacts and congregate less.
While the Taoiseach said he was “deeply deeply disappointed”, he also said he thought Dara Calleary did the right thing by resigning.
“I think he showed leadership and accountability above all to the people by resigning, thats an important message in itself to give when something like this happens to recognise the hurt and anger of many people across the country and he has apologised to health officials who have worked so hard to get this right for the country.”
Discussing the last seven weeks, Mr Martin said they had been very hectic and said: “a hell of a lot has been done.”
The Taoiseach said he was focused on reopening the schools and all schools, including Kildare schools would reopen.
When asked, Mr Martin said he would not be reconvening the Dāil and said it was not up to him to do so.
He said he thought EU Commissioner Phil Hogan should apologise for taking part in the dinner and when questioned in relation to his leadership, Mr Martin said he had responded in an appropriate manner.
“Nobody could have anticipated events like this, but they happen. The important thing is to respond focused and firmly.”