Oireachtas Golf Society events to return for first time since ‘golfgate’

Members acquitted of charges relating to organisation of the dinner amid Covid restrictions

The Oireachtas Golf Society is to reform this summer for the first time since a dinner held after one of its events sparked the so-called ‘golfgate’ controversy in 2020.

Sources involved in the society - which Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail said he wanted disbanded in the aftermath of the golfgate scandal - confirmed it plans to play a number of events this summer.

Former tánaiste, Kerry TD and Labour Party leader Dick Spring will be president of the society, while former Workers Party TD and High Court judge Pat McCartan will be captain, sources said.

The new officer board, which was elected following the AGM of the society earlier this week, also includes Paddy Burke and Jerry Buttimer, Fine Gael senators who attended the golfgate dinner - which resulted in the resignations of then minister for agriculture Dara Calleary and Phil Hogan, then Ireland's EU commissioner.

Mr Buttimer will be the society's new vice-captain, and Donie Cassidy, the society's former president, will also have a role on the officer board.

Mr Cassidy and Independent TD Noel Grealish, who was the society's previous captain, were acquitted of charges relating to the organisation of the dinner in Clifden, which was held in the Station House Hotel in the town. The court found no crimes were committed as the event did not breach Covid-19 restrictions.

In addition to the political casualties among the event’s attendees, the controversy led to RTÉ scrapping plans to give broadcaster Seán O’Rourke a weekend show due to his attendance at the dinner.