Resignation: Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill says Calleary 'didn't scrutinise the small print'

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Resignation: Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill says Calleary 'didn't scrutinise the small print'

Deputy Jackie Cahill: Minister Calleary made an 'error of judgment'

Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill has said that Minister for Agriculture Darragh Calleary "had to go" after he made an "error of jugment" by attending a dinner in Cliften, County Galway with 80 other people, many of them fellow Oireachtas members.

"Having made the regulations, he failed to stand back and scrutinise the small print," Fianna Fáil's Jackie Cahill said. 

However, he said that that was "no defence", as Deputy Calleary had been around the Cabinet table.

"He did something he shouldn't have done," said Deputy Cahill. "In fairness, there was no way he could stay."

The Thurles-based TD said that he believed Deputy had "done the honourable thing" by resigning.

He had spoken to Deputy Calleary on Wednesday night, and, said Deputy Cahill, he was "in turmoil".

"But there is a lot of anger out there among the public. Everyone is getting tired and frustrated but you expect a Minister to live by the sanctions," he said.

Deputy Cahill felt Deputy Calleary may have let family friendship cloud his decision to attend the dinner.

The event was being held to honour the late Fianna Fáil TD and MEP Mark Killilea.

"He is a long-standing friend of the Killileas. He probably just half-absently minded went and took the decision in light of the family friendship," said Deputy Cahill, who revealed he had to make the decision not to attend the funeral of Barry Cowen's mother because Offaly is in lockdown.

The Tipperary TD questioned the wisdom of hosting the event given the current circumstances surrounding Covid-19.

"It was not pressing. Why do it now?" he asked.

Meanwhile, Deputy Cahill, who will once again have his eyes on the top job in agriculture, urged Taoiseach Mícheál Martin to appoint a new Minister as soon as possible.

The Taoiseach has said he will step into the role until appointing someone in September.

"We need a new Minister as soon as possible. There are too many pressing issues. We have the virus outbreaks in meat plants and new testing coming in. The EU won't wait for us to appoint a Minister before CAP negotiations," he said.