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And social media users took the opportunity to call for the collapse of the administration. The new rules – agreed 24 hours earlier – prohibit indoor gatherings of more than six people, with roughly 80 having attended the event at the County Galway Station House Hotel.
Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary tendered his resignation after details emerged, while Fianna Fail leader Mr Martin has also withdrawn the party whip from Paul Daly, Aidan Davitt and Niall Blaney.
Deputy leader and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, Mr Martin’s predecessor as Taoiseach, has likewise withdrawn the whip from three of his party’s senators: Jerry Buttimer, Paddy Burke and John Cummins.
Mr Buttimer has also resigned from his post as Leas-Chathaoirleach, deputy chairman of the Senate, Ireland’s equivalent of the House of Lords.
Additionally, Phil Hogan, currently serving as Ireland’s European Commissioner for Agricultural Affairs, has also faced severe criticism, with Mr Martin demanding he apologise.
Mr Martin, who assumed office in June, has had a difficult start to his tenure, and Mr Calleary had only been in the job 37 days, having replaced Barry Cowen, who was likewise forced to resign after details of an historic drink-driving offence emerged.
The coalition between Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Greens is scheduled to see Mr Varadkar return to the post of Taoiseach in 2022 – but some Twitter users suggested it might not last that long.
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One posted: “Greens should collapse this shambles of a government”
Another added: “The Minister for Agriculture shows the hypocrisy in Ireland.
“I’m glad government is well on track for collapse.”
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Mary-Lou McDonald, leader of Sinn Fein, in opposition even though it secured the highest percentage of first preference votes in February’s general election, commented: “I have spoken with the Taoiseach. He has refused my request to recall the Dail.
“He is wrong. The government is increasingly chaotic, confused, with no direction. They must be held to account.”
Mr Varadkar tweeted: “The event organised by the Oireachtas Golf Society should not have happened.
“I understand how extremely difficult the restrictions have been for people and the enormous sacrifices we have all made.
“Funerals, christenings, weddings, family holidays and other really important family occasions have been foregone to protect each other and the most vulnerable. As representatives we should lead by example.”
Speaking on RTE, Mr Martin said he “fully understands” the anger many felt.
He added: “I didn’t expect it in any shape or form.
“There will not be one rule for people in office. Dara Calleary has been accountable.”
With respect to Mr Hogan, Mr Martin said: “He should apologise. I think he should be far more fulsome in his response to this.”
Also speaking to RTE later, Mr Hogan said he “apologised for any distress caused by my attendance”.
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