Clifden is known as the capital of Connemara, a famous beauty spot on the Wild Atlantic Way that would have been holding what is the highlight of its summer season this weekend, its famous Connemara Pony Show.

The surrounding area is a place when politicians and the powerful come at this time of year to get away from it all. 

But a dinner of the Oireachtas Golf Society in the Station House Hotel on Wednesday night has convulsed the Irish political system, with the crisis now spreading to the heart of EU decision making in Brussels.

After the EU Commissioner, Phil Hogan, apologised for his attendance, the Taoiseach and Tánaiste took a major decision to escalate the issue on Saturday night by releasing a joint statement urging him to "consider his position."

This gave way to strong speculation that he would have little choice but to step down today. 

But Commissioner Hogan was digging his heels in.

He issued a statement offering a "fulsome apology" but when I spoke to his spokesperson at lunchtime they insisted he is not going anywhere. 

"No, he is not resigning," the spokesperson said adamantly.

He appeared to have the backing of Commission President, Ursula Von der Leyen, according to sources that were quoted elsewhere. 

Analysis of the situation from Brussels sources suggested that the Commission would not want to allow domestic politics to override it, and that it could not allow itself to be lead by the views of nation state governments about the suitability or otherwise of a member of the Commission. 

"The Commission protects itself first," said one. 


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It was also pointed out that Mr Hogan has one of the most powerful jobs in Brussels - at the centre of Brexit talks that are at a sensitive stage and crucial to Ireland's interests. 

His departure would cause a big headache for Ms Von der Leyen. 

But just after 4pm the Commission issued a statement which suggested that Ms Von der Leyen, who is a qualified doctor, was taking the situation very seriously. 

She had asked Mr Hogan to provide "a full report with details of the event." 

The statement said: "It is important that facts are established in detail to carefully assess any situation."

The statement once again escalated the situation, suggesting that if there are any holes in the story about his location in Kilkenny ahead of his travels to Galway, then he would be asked to resign.

Such a scenario would avoid a stand-off situation between the President of the Commission and a national government, something neither would want.

It would also be a relief to members of government here who believe it would be politically damaging for both Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar if they had marched to the top of the hill on this with no way back down. 

The public opprobrium if Mr Hogan is to stay on in office would be almost unbearable for this coalition to take. And there would have been massive unrest in both parties if the leaders escalated it with no plan.

One Minister has suggested this afternoon that if the coalition is to move on from this episode, as it so desperately needs to, it cannot until a line is drawn under this episode.

There will be many people in government buildings and Brussels anxiously awaiting his next move.