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‘Comprehensive’ information will clarify Zappone appointment, Taoiseach says

Micheál Martin denied the row is proving a distraction to the Government.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin (file photo)
Taoiseach Micheál Martin (file photo)
Image: PA Images

THE TAOISEACH HAS promised that “comprehensive” information will soon be released that will clear up the remaining questions about the Katherine Zappone controversy.

Speaking in Cork on Saturday, Micheál Martin said he expected the appearance of Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney at the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee on Tuesday will provide “clarity”.

“Comprehensive information will be released, under freedom of information requests, by the Department of Foreign Affairs, which will also bring clarity as well to the situation,” he said at an event in Cork to mark the 75th anniversary of the Irish Naval Service.

He also denied the row is proving a distraction to the Government, which launched a landmark housing plan this week.

The Government remains under pressure over the controversy surrounding the abandoned appointment of Zappone as UN special envoy on freedom of expression and the subsequent fallout over an event at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin.

The former children’s minister stepped back from the position after a storm arose around the manner of her appointment to the role.

“We’re talking about the appointment of a part-time envoy here,” Martin said.

“There needs to be a sense of balance and perspective in terms of the scale of the issue.”

Coveney is to appear before the Oireachtas committee again on Tuesday to answer further questions over the controversial appointment.

Committee chairman Charlie Flanagan had said there were “inconsistencies” in the testimony given to the committee by Coveney in an appearance this week.

It emerged earlier this week that Coveney had deleted texts related to Zappone, he said as a result of a phone hack in 2020.

This led to Tanaiste Leo Varadkar releasing an exchange of texts between he and Zappone in relation to the special envoy appointment.

Opposition parties have been highly critical of the Government over the issue, with Sinn Fein calling on the Department of Foreign Affairs to publish all documents related to Zappone’s appointment.

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Asked whether Zappone should release any communications she has in relation to the appointment, Martin said: “Of course, anybody who can provide any information that is required should do so.”

He said that he had not received any briefing from Coveney ahead of the committee appearance.

“I don’t get involved in that,” he said.

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