Mayo TD Dara Calleary, who was forced to resign as Minister for Agriculture just last August, will have the opportunity to return to Government’s top table, according to Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
The Ballina man’s appearance at a gathering of the Oireachtas Golf Society in a Clifden hotel last summer saw a mass flouting of Covid-19 restrictions and led to the resignations from various roles of numerous politicians, Calleary included, who was only weeks into his role as Minister.
But speaking on Virgin Media’s ‘The Big Interview’, Micheál Martin, to whom Calleary had also served as deputy leader of Fianna Fail, believes the Mayo man’s swift acceptance of his wrongdoing at the time will help pave the way for his return to Ministerial office.
The way he handled the situation will “do him well into the future,” said the Taoiseach. Martin had only announced increased restrictions on August 18 last year when the following day, as he put it, “an event happened which certainly was not in accordance with them”.
“I was very annoyed about it,” he said.
“To be fair to Dara Calleary he got on the phone straight away, fairly quickly, and we discussed it that evening and he said ‘look, I’ve made a very big mistake here and I’m very sorry’, and he resigned.
“And, I felt very sorry for him too because he was a great person, very committed to politics, had been all his life. Very strong parliamentarian… would have been a fine Minister – and I think will again have an opportunity into the future.”
Dara Calleary had attended a dinner organised by the Oireachtas Golf Society that contravened newly imposed restrictions on the number of people who could attend such indoor events but according to Taoiseach Martin, his party colleague responded properly by admitting his “big mistake” and by saying “sorry for that”.