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Sinn Féin calls for all documents related to Zappone appointment to be published

TD Matt Carthy said the Department of Foreign Affairs should also clarify if any other relevant documents have been erased.

SINN FÉIN HAS called on the Department of Foreign Affairs to publish all documents related to Katherine Zappone’s appointment as UN envoy.

Minister Simon Coveney is to appear before an Oireachtas committee again on Tuesday to answer further questions over the former children’s minister’s controversial appointment.

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

Sinn Féin has called on his department to release all documents related to the appointment and indicate if any further material has been erased or is no longer available.

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

Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy said: “We understand that some of the documents related to this affair will be published over the coming days, we would ask that that happens as quickly as possible.

“That all documents be included in the disclosure, and that the department indicate whether other documents or information relating to this debacle, whether it be text messages or others, were destroyed in the course of the past number of weeks and months.”

While the department has indicated it will publish the documents, Carthy said he was concerned as Freedom of Information requests to the Tánaiste on the matter “didn’t provide full information”.

He added: “That’s a practice that many of us have long suspected was in place for far too long.”

“Again, it goes to the heart of the lack of transparency and accountability that this Government have adopted as a hallmark.”

He added: “We also need the department to indicate whether there is information or documentation that no longer exists, that hasn’t heretofore been in the public domain.

“Whether or not older text messages were deleted, or whether other forms of communication are no longer available.”

This is a big issue because it goes to the heart of whether or not this Government can be trusted, not only on this particular issue but on the core issues.

Carthy also called on the Government to take the issue seriously, after the Taoiseach described some of the reaction to the controversy as “melodrama and over-dramatics”.

He said: “I think what we need to have in the first instance is a recognition on the part of Government that this isn’t a small issue.”

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“The Taoiseach I think was insinuating that again yesterday. This is a big issue because it goes to the heart of whether or not this Government can be trusted, not only on this particular issue but on the core issues.”

“It shows that the Government still don’t get it. They don’t know or understand or appreciate why people are frustrated with the fact that a former Cabinet colleague’s had a job made up for them at the taxpayers’ expense.”

In a letter to the committee on Thursday, Coveney denied he had deleted the texts in a bid to keep them secret.

He said: “It was me who told the committee that the Tánaiste had raised the upcoming Zappone appointment with me by text and this has been shown to be completely consistent with what the Tánaiste’s text messages show.”

The minister said it was “plain wrong” to suggest he was trying to keep texts secret and rejected the idea that he misled the committee.

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