EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan to resign

EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan is to resign.

A spokesperson for the senior Irish politician told broadcaster RTE he was stepping aside.

He has been under intense pressure after attending an Irish parliamentary golf society dinner in the west of Ireland last week with 80 other people in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Hogan had been expected to play a key role in establishing the EU’s relationship with Britain following Brexit.

He travelled around Ireland during his summer break from Brussels despite official rules stating he should have self-isolated for 14 days because of the rate of infection abroad.

Brexit
Brexit

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, had sought an explanation from her commissioner amid disquiet from the highest levels of the Irish Government.

Mr Hogan was among 81 guests who attended a controversial golf dinner in Clifden in the west of Ireland last week.

That event attracted widespread anger since it came a short time after Ireland tightened its restrictions on the number who can meet amid a rising number of coronavirus cases.

Large social gatherings are discouraged to hamper spread of the virus.

The commissioner held significant standing in Brussels after a stint as agriculture commissioner and a long career as a Fine Gael politician.

He was recently involved in negotiating a limited trade deal with the US around tariff reductions.

The Irish Government has said Mr Hogan breached its public health guidelines.