The Storm in Ireland

I’m sitting in my office eating a sandwich and listening to the rain. Last night Storm Francis arrived – the picture above was what I saw on the weather app on my phone just before I went to bed, with the storm approaching from the I was very tired so went straight to sleep and fortunately wasn’t woken up by the storm. It probably wasn’t as windy as Storm Ellen but there’s been a heck of a lot of rain, and it’s still coming down.

Storm Francis isn’t the biggest storm going on in Ireland at the moment, though. Last week a quite different tempest brewed up, a political one, the consequences of which have already been quite severe for certain members of the Government. There’s now even a Wikipedia page about the Oireachtas Golf Society Scandal, known colloquially as Golfgate, which means I don’t have to explain too much about it. The story in a nutshell that 81 people, including a number of prominent politicians, attended a golf club dinner that violated Covid-19 restrictions. It has already caused two politicians to resign from their main offices, and a host of apologies have been made, but I don’t think it’s over yet. People are justifiably furious about politicians and other public figures behaving as if they are above the law while others are enduring lockdown conditions. There are definite shades of Dominic Cummings and his trip to Barnard Castle.

One outstanding issue is the conduct of EU Trade Commissioner, Phil Hogan, who not only attended the dinner but also travelled to Kildare (which is under special restrictions) on the way there and, it subsequently emerged, was stopped by Gardaí for talking on his mobile phone will driving. He has been asked to account for his actions by his boss, Ursula von der Leyen, to whom he has handed over a `20-page dossier’ explaining his movements. One wonders what else is in that document that we don’t yet know about.

Update: 26th August. Phil Hogan resigned.

In my opinion, Hogan should be sacked if he won’t resign but there is an issue about how to prevent this sort of thing happening in future. The answer to me is obvious: an interest in golf is clearly an indication of poor judgement so anyone who plays golf, or is interested in golf in any way, should be barred from holding any form of public office.

I rest my case.

4 Responses to “The Storm in Ireland”

  1. Do you think the extended lockdown on Kildare is justified considering the epicenter of the cases seem to only originate from a few select towns and or certain meat factories ?

    • telescoper Says:

      Yes, I do. The restrictions are intended to reduce the chance of community transmission so that local outbreaks are contained and remain local. These precautions have worked in Laois and Offaly but cases in Kildare are still at high levels.

  2. Jonivar Skullerud Says:

    Phil Hogan is a bit of a sideshow, although he is such a despicable character that it is hard to have much sympathy for him. The biggest scandal is supreme court judge Seamus Woulfe, who was attorney-general at the start of the pandemic. How could anyone trust his judgements after this?

    It is an interesting aside that the Maynooth-based former TD and junior minister for health promotion and older people, Áine Brady, was also among the guests.

    • telescoper Says:

      It now appears that Mr Hogan managed to fit in a round of golf in Limerick during his national tour in August. I have to admit I have yet to encounter anyone who has a good word to say about him.

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