Aontú Cllr for Cavan & Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council, Sarah O’Reilly, has condemned in the strongest terms the farce of senior politicians and public figures attending a function of the Oireachtas Golf Society, and – in the process – insulting the sacrifices and suffering the Irish people have endured to fight the pandemic.

Cllr O’Reilly: “81 people attended an Oireachtas “golf function” in Clifden on Wednesday night. one day after telling the rest of us to restrict our social lives. TDs, Senators, Judges, RTE presenter and a Councillor, drove in the midst of an Orange storm weather warning to have dinner with 81 people. Dara Calleary has resigned and rightly so, others are more arrogant, their excuses embarrassing and insulting to our intelligence, why are they above reproach? We must demand that they resign or that they are penalized for their behaviour immediately. This gathering and the attendance of so many politicians and public figures who have called for and enforced regulations regarding social distancing, is incredibly insulting to the sacrifices made by the Irish people.”

“Every citizen in our nation has contributed and made sacrifices since March. We have stood on streets and watched heartbroken families bury loved ones in the most difficult situations. No wakes, no hugs no support from the wider community with grieving families denied these comforts and, in some cases, even the right to be brought to a church. Elderly people took the hit of enforced loneliness and isolation – so we could #flattenthecurve. Healthcare workers, many on minimum wage working long hours with depleted staffing are #HoldingFirm while suffering serious effects from contracting the virus themselves or exhausted from total burnout. An Garda Síochána tasked with an extra workload to protect us and help us #staysafe. Principals, teachers, SNAs and school staff working with no clear guidelines trying to get our underfunded and overcrowded schools #WashYourHands ready for our children.

“Weddings, christenings, birthdays, communions and confirmations all cancelled because we are #InThisTogether (at least most of us are). Stressed parents, #StayingHomeToStaySafe, home-schooling while working from home with no creche facilities, poor broadband and the uncertainty of school re-opening. Many of our County’s businesses closed in a bid to #StayHome&SaveLives suffering untold losses, many will never re-open. Our Sporting organisations are bewildered, confused and heavily burdened by strict guidelines, unclear and confusing #SocialDistance messaging. But they will overcome!”

“In early April, I assisted two local hospitals and two nursing homes in urgently acquiring badly needed PPE when their pleas fell on deaf ears. After receiving absolutely no help, assistance or response from HSE or government, I put the call out on fb. The local community and local business rose to the challenge and we secured PPE and FREE accommodation for healthcare workers living with vulnerable family members. The public and businesses involved wanted no photos ops, no fuss, no self-promotions no long statements, it was just done. This government has lapped up the media attention, whilst failing to live up to the standards they themselves preach.”

“It was the people who came to the communities’ aid and it will be the people who get us through this pandemic. The public know this pandemic is more than a catchy hashtag or a buzzword government campaign slogan, the problem is that the people in power don’t. Golfgate only serves to confirm this.”