EU trade commissioner gives timeline of movements in Ireland

The EU’s trade commissioner has given a timeline of his movements in Ireland to the European Commission.

Travellers into the Republic from countries not included on a green list indicating low risk are requested under the coronavirus regulations to restrict their interactions with others for 14 days.

Belgium, where Phil Hogan is based, is not among green list countries.

The commissioner said he completed a passenger locator form on arrival in Ireland on July 31 before travelling to his property in Co Kildare.

The Oireachtas Golf Society event
The Oireachtas Golf Society event

Non-essential outbound travel from Belgium to high-risk regions such as Kildare, which has an elevated infection rate, is not permitted, Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs has said.

He stayed there until he was admitted to a Dublin hospital on August 5 for a medical procedure.

It was during this overnight hospital stay that he tested negative for Covid-19 and after he was discharged on August 6, he “briefly” returned to his apartment in Co Kildare.

He believes he was free to travel freely once he had tested negative for Covid-19.

The following day, he travelled to Kilkenny before extra restrictions came into force in Kildare due to a spike in cases linked to meat plant workers there.

On August 12, he travelled to Dublin to hold a meeting with deputy premier Leo Varadkar and visit the European Commission’s office.

The following day, he said he played golf in Adare in Co Limerick in the south west of the country, a course scheduled to hold the Ryder Cup in the future.

Mr Hogan returned to Kilkenny in south-east Ireland, where he was born and spent much of his political career.

The Oireachtas Golf Society event
The Oireachtas Golf Society event

According to the document published on Tuesday, he travelled from Kilkenny to Galway for the golf and dinner society event via locked-down Co Kildare on August 17.

Mr Hogan was engaged in trade negotiations on behalf of the EU with the US at the time and believes his journeys were allowable as essential business.

He added: “I stopped briefly in Co Kildare at the property in which I had been staying for the purpose of collecting some personal belongings and essential papers relating to the ongoing negotiations with the US trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, which continued while I was in Co Galway.

“This culminated in an agreement on a package of tariff reductions on August 21.”

Mr Hogan spent the following five days in Galway before returning to Kildare on August 21 to collect personal belongings, including his passport.

He said he stayed there overnight to catch an early morning flight to his primary residence in Brussels from the nearby airport.