Embattled EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan published on Tuesday (Aug 25) a detailed account of a recent visit to Ireland, as he sought to stop a snowballing scandal over his attendance at a

golf society dinner.

The 1,400-word account came at the strong urging of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who holds the fate of Hogan, a former Irish farming minister, in her hands.

In Ireland, Hogan is under pressure to step down for attending the Aug 19 event organised by the Irish parliament golf society and held one day after the government tightened coronavirus restrictions.

"Set out below are the relevant requirements issued by the Irish Government in relation to Covid-19 and how I adhered to them at all times while in Ireland," Hogan said in the memo addressed to von der Leyen, his boss.

"At the outset I fully accept that it is abundantly clear that the event should not have been held and that I should not have attended this dinner," he added.

Fallout from the "Golfgate" dinner has reverberated across Ireland, sparking a series of resignations, including of Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary who was also present.

In his answer, Hogan argues that "I had no reason to question or doubt" assurances that rules would be met at the dinner "particularly in circumstances where an Irish Government Minister was attending and speaking at the event."

Hogan's situation was made even worse after it was revealed that he was pulled over by an Irish police officer for using his phone while driving - an event he referred to in his memo.

In his argument, Hogan said "I very much regret having answered the phone while driving" and that he received a warning from the officer and no charge.

Von der Leyen has proceeded with caution in the affair and asked Hogan to provide her with a report on the details of his moves in Ireland during his time there, as well as what health rules were in place.

"Once the detailed report is available, the president will feel confident that she has the full picture, which will enable her to complete her assessment," Dana Spinant, a spokeswoman for von der Leyen, told reporters.

The job of trade commissioner is one of the most powerful yet challenging EU posts, with constant world travel to negotiate deals or agree truces with major trading partners.

If Hogan were to be pushed out or resign, nothing says Ireland would win back the job and refilling it would become a political headache for Von der Leyen at a challenging time for Europe. AFP, photo by Sébastien Bertrand, Wikimedia commons.