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Golfgate scandal rekindled an old debate Brussels v/s individual government




Golfgate scandal, also known as the Oireachtas Golf Society scandal, which involved many former and present members of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) who attended a dinner of the Oireachtas Golf Society in Clifden, County Galway, on 19 August 2020.

The gathering of 81 sparked public outrage as the members travelled across the Ireland showing little regard to the lockdown imposed to prevent Covid-19. Also, as per the government guidelines, no more than 50 members could assemble in a place while the dinner gathering out rightly ignored the public health advice issued on large-scale social gatherings.

Among some of the high-profile Oireachtas members who attended the event were the European Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan and a Supreme Court judge, Seamus Woulfe.

Increasing public criticism pushed Hogan to step down from his post. In a statement, Hogan said he resigned after it became “increasingly clear” the incident was becoming a “distraction” from his work as a commissioner.
He continued: “I deeply regret that my trip to Ireland – the country that I have been so proud to represent as a public servant for most of my adult life – caused such concern, unease and upset.

I have always tried to comply with all relevant COVID-19 Regulations in Ireland and had understood that I had met with all relevant public health Guidelines, particularly following confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test. I reiterate my heartfelt apology to the Irish people for the mistakes I made during my visit.”

Hermann Kelly, President of the Irish Freedom Party and an Irexit campaigner said that Golfgate scandal brought to light the kind of power EU commissioners, who are not elected by voters, enjoy in Brussels.

Kelly during his interview with said,“Nobody there (in EU) was elected, they’re all appointed by the President of the European Commission voted on by the Parliament… They have huge power and very little accountability. If you believe in democracy and national democracy that’s a very dangerous scenario.”

He said that Hogan’s scandal showed “how weak national governments have become”.He added: “They’ve accepted a situation in which their so-called commissioner is well beyond their control, beyond their command. They’ve got no say.”Kelly said, “They can’t even get rid of a discredited national representative at the EU level and it really shows how so many national powers have been transferred to Brussels.

Obviously, they’re not going to be coming back anytime soon unless as the British have done, they’ve decided to take their democracy back and all the political powers that should belong to the nation-state they’ve gloriously decided to take them back in a process called Brexit.”Kelly hinted that increasing discontent among Irish people towards the bias showcased by EU could be the reason behind increasing support for Irexit.


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