Phil Hogan’s downfall proves the old rules no longer apply
Demise of the Irish heavyweight will cause shock not just in Dublin but across Europe
The resignation of Phil Hogan represents an extraordinary move by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. It brings to an end a tumultuous seven days when Irish politics – and then the Brussels bubble – was convulsed by the unlikely event of an Oireachtas Golf Society anniversary dinner.
The revelation that Hogan – along with 80 other people – attended the golf dinner in violation of coronavirus restrictions precipitated a welter of sackings and resignations that led inexorably to last night’s resignation. The next act in the coming days will be a decision on the fate of newly appointed Supreme Court judge Séamus Wolfe, and Hogan’s resignation surely makes it more likely that he will never sit on that elevated bench. If so – a report is awaited from former chief justice Susan Denham – it would make the headcount from the episode: several senators, a Cabinet minister, a European commissioner and a judge of the highest court in the land. It’s some toll for a few holes of golf, a few pints and a plate of beef or salmon.