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EU trade chief faces deadline to report on Ireland trip uproar

BRUSSELS, Aug 25 (Reuters) - The European Commission’s president has given trade chief Phil Hogan a deadline of 2 p.m. (1200 GMT) on Tuesday to further clarify whether he breached COVID-19 regulations while at home in Ireland this month, the EU executive said.

Hogan has apologised twice for attending a golf dinner that has caused outrage in Ireland and led its prime minister and deputy prime minister to ask him to consider his position.

“The president expects a detailed report from Commissioner Hogan today by two o’clock in the afternoon,” a spokeswoman for the EU executive said. “The president also encourages Commissioner Hogan to publish the timeline of his moves in Ireland during the period that he stayed there.”

An EU official has said Hogan will not resign.

Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen sought and received a report from Hogan late on Sunday, which also accounted for his movements across counties in Ireland, one of which was under local lockdown.

She subsequently sought further details from him to make a decision on whether he should stay on as trade commissioner.

The spokeswoman said that as soon as von der Leyen has a “complete picture” of events, she will give her view, but there was no timeline for this.

Over 80 people attended the dinner the night after Ireland’s coronavirus restrictions were significantly tightened to cut such gatherings to a maximum of six guests. That infuriated many in Ireland who have been unable to attend funerals or had to cancel holidays or weddings to comply with some of the EU’s strictest measures to contain COVID-19 contagion.

Hogan said he attended the dinner on the clear understanding that the event was in compliance with government guidelines and that he also complied with the local lockdown rules. (Reporting by John Chalmers, Editing by William Maclean)