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'A total mess' - Zappone shouldn't accept special envoy job, FF senator says

A Government senator has called on Katherine Zappone not to accept the role of UN Special Envoy. ...
Sean Defoe
Sean Defoe

14.22 4 Aug 2021


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'A total mess' - Zappone shoul...

'A total mess' - Zappone shouldn't accept special envoy job, FF senator says

Sean Defoe
Sean Defoe

14.22 4 Aug 2021


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A Government senator has called on Katherine Zappone not to accept the role of UN Special Envoy.

It comes after it emerged the former minister held an event for 50 people, including the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin.

The hotel has insisted they've adhered to all COVID-19 rules.

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The outdoor event was held less than a week before Ms Zappone was appointed a Special Envoy by the Government.

Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy says the news has gone down very badly in his party.

He said: "If Katherine Zappone really respects Ireland, the Irish electorate and indeed the Irish political system... she should pull back and not accept this job.

"I think this has turned out to be a total mess... at this stage it would be wise of Katherine Zappone to pull back."

In a statement earlier, the hotel said: "At all times since the start of the pandemic, we have adhered to Government public health measures including the relevant guidelines that were in place at the time of the event you reference on July 21st.

"These have since been updated on July 23rd.

"Government regulations at the time allowed for outdoor events of up to 200 people, and the definition of that includes social events.

"This upper limit still applies, except now indoor events in hotels are excluded per Government guidelines published by Fáilte Ireland."

The Tánaiste hasn’t commented publicly on the event yet, while Katherine Zappone says she was assured by the hotel that it was COVID compliant.

Opposition reaction

Opposition parties have sharply criticised both the appointment of Ms Zappone and the holding of the event last month.

Sinn Féin TD Matt McCarthy earlier said the optics of the hotel event do not look good - suggesting it's now a "whole different ballgame".

Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon told Lunchtime Live it doesn’t look good.

He said: "I think it stinks - it looks awful.

"At the same time as we can't have partners in maternity wards... where we can't have communions and confirmations... where weddings have been restricted... we're having [this] event."

He said it also brings up questions about how appointments are made - saying this one happened without "any formal process", and should now be halted.

Additional reporting by Stephen McNeice
Main image: File photo of Katherine Zappone. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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