World: Ireland shaken by political scandal linked to coronavirus

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In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin will convene Parliament. The reason? A political scandal linked to the coronavirus. He asked the European Commissioner for Trade, the Irishman Phil Hogan, implicated, to consider a resignation.

Martin and his coalition partners, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and Minister Eamon Ryan, "have agreed that the Dail (Parliament, Editor's note) be summoned," a spokesperson said on Sunday. This decision follows the storm caused this week in the political class by revelations about the holding of a gala dinner organized in violation of the health restrictions linked to the epidemic.

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The dinner, which was held Wednesday evening for the 50th anniversary of the Parliament Golf Club with 82 guests including Phil Hogan, has already led to the resignation of several people, including that of the Minister of Agriculture, Dara Calleary.

It took place the day after a decision by authorities to tighten restrictions on gatherings, banning meetings of more than six people indoors. Irish police on Friday announced the opening of an investigation into "violations" of the law.

Late apology

Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar, who heads the Fine Gael, a party of which Phil Hogan is a former member, said on Saturday "to have spoken with Commissioner Hogan and to have asked him to assume his responsibilities". A spokesperson for Hogan, told the RTE channel that the commissioner "was going to think about" the request.

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Elected to the Irish Parliament from 1987 to 2014 and Minister of the Environment from 2011 to 2014, Hogan had previously affirmed having attended the evening "on the basis of a clear understanding that the organizers and the hotel in question had been assured that the arrangements put in place would respect the instructions of the government". He later issued a statement to apologize, according to RTE.

But "the excuses of the commissioner are late and […] he still has to relate in detail and explain his actions", estimated the spokesperson for the Prime Minister. Martin and Varadkar “both believe that the event should never have taken place” according to him.

EU’s Hogan Defends His Quarantine Actions on Irish Television .
The European Union’s embattled trade chief struck a combative tone on live television and insisted he did not violate coronavirus restrictions in his native Ireland during a visit. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Phil Hogan apologized again for attending a golf dinner in Ireland during the pandemic, an event that is under police investigation for being in breach of rules and forced a minister to resign. The top trade negotiator conceded, again, he should not have been there.

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