Local Fianna Fáil Councillor, Frankie Keena, has denounced the hosting of the Oireachtas Golf Society event stating this week that he reacted with a myriad of emotions as news of the controversial Clifden gathering emerged.
“Upon hearing the breaking news with regard to the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner held in Clifden, my emotions ranged from those of anger, disbelief, dismay and total frustration.
“It personally astounds how this golfing event was organised in the first place while this country is in the midst of a public health pandemic.
“Communities, both local and nationally, continue to contribute to the national campaign as we try to reduce the transmission of this terrible virus and thus the action by some of our legislators and others in high public office in attending this event is a massive rejection of the public’s efforts. It has now made it very difficult for the Government to credibly advise the public to social distance,” Cllr. Keena asserted.
Honing in on the collective efforts of the general public, Cllr. Keena noted that numerous emotive family occasions continue to be culled as the virus maintains a presence in the community.
“During the past six months the general public have made huge sacrifices with non attendance at funerals of loved ones, enduring the cancellation of weddings, foregoing their annual summer holidays, many of which were booked, while many have lost their jobs completely, businesses have been impacted economically and our frontline workers are exhausted as they tend to those who have contracted COVID-19,” Cllr. Keena emphasised.
Cllr. Keena is of the belief that the members of the Oireachtas Golf Society should have requested the cancellation of the event when it was clear that the Clifden gathering would not be adhering to puplic health and safety guidelines.
“As this was an Oireachtas Golf Society event, I presume that relevant members from all political parties were invited to attend. While those who attended should have known the dangers and consequences of their actions, I feel that the onus should also be on those who were invited and did not attend. Why didn’t they look for the event to be cancelled? The event after all was organised under the name of the Oireachtas Golf Society so it was all inclusive.
“Since Thursday last, we have heard statements from numerous politicians from within Government and the opposition who are all crying annoyance and shock but I do feel they need to come clean and confirm if they knew in advance about it or not,” Cllr. Keena stated.
Cllr. Keenan believes there is now a breakdown in trust between the Oireachtas and the general public as the fall out from the hosting of this event continues.
“Some politicians within my own Fianna Fail party were also at this event and have since suffered the consequences. Their actions have had a knock on effect on my work as an active County Councillor. In fact, it has seriously undermined my work.
“This FF/FG/Green Party coalition Government has endured a start not brimming with confidence which has caused a lot of uncertainty as to its longevity. It is a big concern as the country is in a very volatile position with regard to COVID-19 and Brexit, so I am calling on the three political parties to resolves these issues as soon as possible and start delivering on their commitments such as housing, health and education and other pertinent matters.
“ The next test for this Government is the reopening of the schools and the publishing of the Leaving Cert results. I do hope that everything goes smoothly and that all staff, teachers, SNAs and students will be kept safe.
“As we are moving towards the winter season, we will be faced with new challenges such as the flu virus so every effort has to be maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. So, irrespective of what happened in Clifden it is still so important for the general public to adhere to health and safety guidelines, to continue wearing face coverings, maintain social distancing and abide by the required recommendations,” Cllr. Keena concluded.