It isn't often that the front page newspaper splashes are surpassed by 7.30am.

But such is the pace of the story around an Oireachtas Golf Society Dinner that a ministerial resignation before breakfast had moved on to the future of an EU Commissioner in the time it takes to eat a bowl of cornflakes.

Mayo TD Dara Calleary had "apologised unreservedly" last night for attending the dinner on Wednesday, just 24 hours after he signed-off on a set of stringent rules in response to an increase of cases of Covid-19.

He had spoken to the Taoiseach shortly after the story was broken by the Irish Examiner, with Mr Martin said to be "furious".

But the revelations appeared to ignite a very particular sense of outrage from a public already swallowing news of the second tightening of restrictions in a fortnight.

This anger spread like wildfire as the night progressed.

Mr Calleary was due to go on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme and when he pulled out, it was clear the writing was on the wall.

He had spoken to the Taoiseach again early this morning and it was inevitable that - after just 37 days on the job - he had no choice but to fall on his sword.

There were more than 80 people at the event in The Station House Hotel in Clifden, including EU Commissioner Phil Hogan and a number of Fine Gael Senators and other TDs.

But Mr Calleary is the only one among them who signed-off on new restrictions on Tuesday that have asked the public to make huge sacrifices.

He was a member of Cabinet that approved rules that resulted in the immediate cancellation of christening parties, of children's birthday parties, sought to keep wedding numbers below 50 indefinitely, and prompted people over the age of 70 to cancel their hotel stays.

After that decision was a made by Cabinet on Tuesday, Mr Calleary went on RTÉ's Six One News and stated emphatically: "We are all in this together."

It is unlikely that his colleagues would have accepted he had the authority to be part of a Cabinet today that is expected to agree to extending more severe local restrictions for Kildare for a further two weeks.

Attention is already turning to Commissioner Hogan who is now facing calls for his resignation - meaning news of the golf dinner is going global.

His resignation is not in the gift of the Irish Government and is something that has to be recommended by the wider Commission.

But it means that political pressure around this issue will remain on not just the leader of Fianna Fáil, but on Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also.

There are also questions circulating around the long-term prospects for this coalition.

The Taoiseach has said he will take over the agriculture portfolio for now until the Dáil returns on 15 September.

But can the Dáil stay shut until then? Not according to either Sinn Féin or Labour who want it to be recalled immediately.

With internal frictions, public anger and the need to appoint a new member of Cabinet and discuss new laws around Covid-19, the coalition is on shaky ground.

But it seems there are just too many big decisions to be made for things to fall apart, so they will have little choice but to stick together.


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