Golfgate trial ends with charges against all four accused dismissed

Kilkennyman Phil Hogan was forced to resign as EU commissioner in the wake of the controversy.

The Golfgate trial has ended with the dismissal of the charges against the four men accused of organising an event in breach of lockdown laws.

The judge agreed that Independent TD Noel Grealish, former Fianna Fáil Senator Donie Cassidy and two hoteliers had fully complied with Covid regulations.

Kilkennyman Phil Hogan was forced to resign as EU commissioner over further breaches of the guidelines in the wake of the controversy.

Kilkenny Fine Gael Councillor Martin Brett also attended the event on August 19th 2020 in the Clifden Station House Hotel to mark the 50th anniversary of the Oireachtas Golf Society.

100 invitations went out and 81 people attended at a time when only 50 people could gather at indoor events.

The trial heard a lot of evidence about a large partition wall that divided the function room into what the defence argued was ‘two distinct and separate gatherings’

Multiple gatherings were allowed at the same venue, but the prosecuting barrister claimed this was a ‘very fanciful concept.’ Eoghan Cole argued this was ‘one dinner hosted in one room with an ineffective partition, as far as the law was concerned.

Judge Mary Fahy disagreed though.

In dismissing the charges, she said she’d no doubt the regulations were complied with, even if the court of public opinion didn’t agree.

She also said, ‘very good people lost very good positions and contracts,’ before clarifying that she hadn’t made her decision based on that.