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Four cleared of all golf-dinner charges
Pic: RollingNews.ie

04 Feb 2022 / ireland Print

Four cleared of golf-dinner charges

Charges against four people arising from an Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in August 2020 have been dismissed.

At Galway District Court, Judge Mary Fahy said that she was satisfied that the gatherings that took place at the Station House Hotel (pictured) on 19 August 2020 happened in two different areas, and did not constitute a breach of the regulations in place at the time.

Independent TD Noel Grealish (55), former Fianna Fáil senator Donie Cassidy (75), hotelier John Sweeney (60), and his son James Sweeney (32) had each faced a single charge of organising, or causing to organise, an event in contravention of section 31A of the Health Act 1947, as amended to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“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,” the judge said yesterday (3 February).

Judge had attended dinner

A total of 81 people had attended the Station House Hotel in Clifden after a round of golf organised by the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner.

Grealish was the society’s captain, while Cassidy was its president. John Sweeney is the hotelier who developed the Station House Hotel.

Charges had been laid after gardaí sent a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Justice Seamus Woulfe, who had just been appointed to the Supreme Court, attended the dinner, and later apologised.

A report by Mrs Justice Susan Denham on his attendance concluded that while he erred in deciding to attend the dinner, mitigating factors needed to be considered.

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