Zappone declines invitation to appear before Oireachtas committee

ireland
Zappone Declines Invitation To Appear Before Oireachtas Committee Zappone Declines Invitation To Appear Before Oireachtas Committee
The appointment of former minister Katherine Zappone to a UN special envoy role has caused controversy for the Government. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images
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Former minister Katherine Zappone has declined an invitation to appear before the Oireachtas foreign affairs committee to answer questions on her appointment to a UN special envoy role.

According to The Irish Times, the committee's chair, Charlie Flanagan confirmed on Monday that Ms Zappone decided not to take up their invitation which was extended to her following a private session last Wednesday.

The attempted appointment of Ms Zappone to the role by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has caused widespread controversy, with Opposition party members accusing him of cronyism.

After it emerged the Minister deleted text exchanges between himself and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar on the matter, which he said was down to privacy concerns, Sinn Féin tabled a motion of no-confidence which was voted down last week.

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The Minister has previously said Ms Zappone had been mistaken in thinking she was offered the UN position back in March, and also rejected claims that she had lobbied him for the role.

It was hoped Ms Zappone could offer her timeline and version of events.

An invitation from the committee is also to be offered to Martin Fraser, the secretary general of the Department of the Taoiseach, to allow him to answer questions on when the Taoiseach's office became aware of Ms Zappone's appointment.

Last week, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath contradicted Tánaiste Leo Varadkar's claims that Micheál Martin's office received a memo naming Ms Zappone the day before the Cabinet meeting at which her appointment was discussed.

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