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'I don't have a defence' - O'Rourke apologises on Twitter

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Sean O’Rourke was at event

Sean O’Rourke was at event

Sean O’Rourke was at event

Retired broadcaster Sean O'Rourke has apologised "unreservedly" for his attendance at the Oireachtas Golf Club dinner in Galway which has seen the resignation of Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary as well as other officials.

The retired journalist, who concluded his career at RTÉ in May, explain on Twitter his attendance at the dinner, which took place on Wednesday night.

He previously hosted the 10am-12pm slot on RTÉ Radio One, entitled Today with Sean O'Rourke.

Journalist Sarah McInerney acted as a temporary presenter for the programme before finishing up yesterday.

Claire Byrne, one of the state broadcaster's biggest names, is set to take over from Monday.

Listeners of the Today programme heard this morning that Mr O'Rourke was invited to come and speak regarding his attendance at the dinner.

"To those of you wondering what if I was still asking the questions rather than facing them I just want to say: You're right. I should not have been at the dinner in Clifden on Wednesday," he wrote on Twitter yesterday afternoon.

DEFENCE

"I don't have a defence. I was invited to play golf and I really didn't consider it beyond that, other than to assume whatever was happening would be acceptable from a public health point of view."

He added that he regrets this "lack of thought and interrogation".

"I very much regret that lack of thought and interrogation on my part, and I apologise unreservedly for it," he added.

Several high-profile resignations have taken place after the Irish Examiner reported that an Oireachtas Golf Club dinner took place in Clifden in Galway on Wednesday night, where over 80 people attended.

The guest list included the now former Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary, EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan, Supreme Court judge Seamus Woulfe and several senators.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin yesterday removed the Fianna Fáil whip from senators Paul Daly, Aidan Davitt and Niall Blaney.

Earlier, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he has removed the party whip from senators Jerry Buttimer, Paddy Burke and John Cummins.