Ivana Bacik apologises for attending Merrion Hotel party

ireland
Ivana Bacik Apologises For Attending Merrion Hotel Party Ivana Bacik Apologises For Attending Merrion Hotel Party
Dublin Bay South by-election, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Dominic McGrath, PA

Labour’s Ivana Bacik has apologised for attending a controversial party at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin.

The party, hosted by former minister Katherine Zappone, took place in an outdoor area of the hotel and was attended by 50 people. The event was also attended by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, who last week apologised for his actions.

The event attracted considerable criticism and the controversy led to a clarification of the rules around outdoor hospitality on Friday, with 200 now allowed gather at an event, with live music.

In a statement on Monday evening, the newly elected TD said: “I confirmed last week that I was briefly in attendance for approx. 15/20 minutes at an outdoor event organised by Katherine Zappone on 21st July.”

“I understood the event was within the regulations but regret my brief attendance in the circumstances, and apologised for being there.”

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In the statement, Ms Bacik said that Labour leader Alan Kelly had accepted her apology. She was elected to the Dáil after a by-election last month.

The event at the Merrion Hotel was held by Ms Zappone six days before she was appointed by the Government as a UN special envoy, a role she stepped back from following the controversy.

Earlier on Monday, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said that Mr Varadkar’s attendance at the event has “undermined public confidence”.

“I actually think this whole controversy has undermined public confidence and it’s our job then to try and restore that, by making sure we get the further reopening of the country right, and I think we can and will do that,” he told RTE radio.

Chief whip and Fianna Fáil TD Jack Chambers also admitted that the Merrion Hotel controversy was “not good for the Government”.

He told Newstalk Breakfast: “I acknowledge and appreciate the huge frustration and anger that the last number of days have caused.

“I welcome the fact that the Tanaiste has apologised directly to the industry, and expressed his regret about the controversy.”

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