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SOAPBOX: Will Hogan Phil his pockets?

by Jimmy Rhatigan

MOST FAIR minded people may agree that former EU Commissioner for Trade and one time Carlow/Kilkenny TD Phil Hogan got a raw deal following Golfgate.

The Tullaroan-born public representative attended a golf dinner in Galway and that proved to be his last supper in the world of politics where he was highly regarded and quite successful.

Big Phil was given the heave-ho after his belly-full of fine cuisine and whether his dismissal was fair or otherwise has been up for public discussion since the grub-up during a pandemic.

Hogan may or may not know precisely who pulled the trigger as somebody or indeed bodies possibly saw an opportunity to end the career of a talented man.

To most, it probably doesn’t matter who did the dirty deed but more recent front page headlines following a court case in Galway led to a simmering political pot soaring to boiling point.

Not guilty was the judge’s verdict. Those who were in court for allegedly organizing the controversial event or simply drinking fine wine at a time when the rest of us were curtailed by the Covid-19 health and safety rules may have celebrated as they would have cheered any hole in one.


The case should perhaps have been the end of a saga that members of the Oireachtas Golf Society would have wanted to forget to remember.

Instead the day in court prompted a new beginning.

An interview with Hogan for French daily newspaper Libération re-fuelled a Golfgate fire.

The suggestion was that he may have it in mind to seek compensation from the EU and Irish Government for unfair dismissal following his resignation from high office in Brussels.

Friends and admirers in the Fine Gael family in the Carlow/Kilkenny Constituency are now shouting loudest as they support their buddy and fellow party member.

So, should Hogan be compensated? 

Should he get a pot of gold to add to his already considerable stash of cash as perhaps the highest paid Kilkennyman in international politics?

If he goes ahead with any claim, he may just have a very worthy case.

But is that the point considering any compensation will have to come from a public purse at a time when there are millions of others who desperately need money for what most would deem to be far more important reasons.


Hogan would be a potential for Millionaires’ Row while thousands of his fellow citizens, including loving parents, slog to feed and clothe children, scramble to pay mortgages or exorbitant rents?

Hogan’s decision as to whether to claim or not to claim will go a long way towards what his legacy will be in his beloved City and County of Kilkenny.

In some respects, he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t pocket any compensation.

A decision not to collect what he may passionately believe he is due, or, even better still, to accept any spoils and to donate it to local charities, would be a huge fillip for Phil Hogan, son of Tullaroan and champion of the black and amber.

Such a move would be priceless.

And it could also be a welcome shot in the arm for a Fine Gael Party that continues to struggle in the opinion polls.

The former would certainly be a feather in Hogan’s cap.

The latter?

He may just have mixed feelings about that one.

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