Thursday, February 03, 2022

A district Court judge dismissed charges this evening against four men accused of organising an Oireachtas Society Golf dinner in a Clifden hotel two years ago.

Galway West TD Noel Grealish, former senator Donie Cassidy, and John and James Sweeney had been on trial at Galway District Court.

They were charged with breaching regulations, aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19, at the Station House Hotel in Clifden.

Mayo TD, and then Minister for Agriculture, Dara Calleary gave evidence today, where he said he “felt very comfortable” being there and that all social distancing guidelines were adhered to.

Speaking at the end of a three-day trial at Galway District Court, Judge Mary Fahy there had been a huge body of evidence presented to the court which showed that while there had been one golf outing, there had been two distinct areas in the hotel which catered for two groups.

“The regulations provided for 50, but in two distinct areas. We have to admit the evidence was most impressive, from Judge Woulfe and Mr Buttimer in particular – he was most impressive.

“They were all responsible people who would not have gone to a dinner unless they felt comfortable and unless the organisers had not put in place all that was required to make it safe.

“I’m satisfied the organisers did everything to comply – not in a court of public opinion – but in the court of law in my opinion.

“Unfortunately, very good people lost lost very good jobs and very good contracts and just to clarify, I didn’t make my decision based on that.

“I’m dismissing the charges against all four defendants,” Judge Fahy said.

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