Paschal Donohoe denies being lobbied by Katherine Zappone for UN role

Paschal Donohoe Denies Being Lobbied By Katherine Zappone For Un Role
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By James Ward, PA

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has denied he was lobbied by Katherine Zappone for the role of UN envoy.

The former children’s minister referenced a conversation with Mr Donohoe in WhatsApp messages she exchanged with Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney about the role, in documents released by his department on Monday.


Mr Donohoe has insisted this was part of a “general discussion” he had with Ms Zappone about her future, and that he was not lobbied for the role at any time.



In a statement he said: “The records contain a reference to me in messages between Minister Coveney and Katherine Zappone. I believe it is important to give context to those messages.

“At the end of last year Katherine sought my advice regarding a future in the UN and other international organisations.

“I suggested she contact Minister Coveney for advice. At some point in the new year I mentioned this potential contact to Minister Coveney.

“I had no further engagement with Minister Coveney on the matter.”


In the messages, Ms Zappone says she is aware that Mr Donohoe spoke to Mr Coveney about introducing her to Samantha Power, a former US Ambassador to the UN and current administrator of the United States Agency For International Development (USAID).

In a message to Mr Coveney on February 22nd, she wrote: “I know Paschal has spoken with you about my interest to get an intro to Sam Power. About possibility of working with her at USAID on women and girls/gender equality issues and LGBTQ issues.”

She adds: “All these issues very much in sync with our/Irish foreign policy too.”

Mr Donohoe has said he had no role whatsoever in Ms Zappone’s controversial appointment as UN special envoy on freedom of expression.


Appearing on Newstalk’s the Hard Shoulder on Monday, he said: “What that refers to is the general discussion that I had with Katherine, that happened on a personal level.

“She was back in America, she was looking at whether she would have a future in international organisations and that was one of the things that she had mentioned to me.

“And as I said, I mentioned this to Simon Coveney. I suggested that Katherine make contact with him for advice about those kinds of issues. They subsequently talked to each other.”

He denied she had lobbied him for the UN envoy role.


“She didn’t lobby me. She was having a very general discussion regarding what her future might bring. Never at any point did she lobby me about it” he said.

“I did not play, nor should I have played a role in the process that led to the offer of a role to her.”

Katherine Zappone appointment
Katherine Zappone. (Niall Carson/PA)

Mr Donohoe said he spoke to Mr Coveney about the issue of Ms Zappone’s future “some time across January and February.”

He added: “I never spoke to Simon Coveney about it beyond that single discussion.

“I had no reason at all to speak to Leo Varadkar about it.

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“I was, through ongoing discussions that I’ve had with Katherine, I knew she was having an engagement with Simon about a potential role.”

He said he had not followed up the conversation with Mr Coveney after that.

“There was a dialogue taking place across that period. I wasn’t involved in it” he said.

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