Donohoe says he was never lobbied by Zappone about envoy role


Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

17.44 6 Sep 2021


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The Finance Minister has insisted he was never lobbied by Katherine Zappone about a UN special envoy role.

Paschal Donohoe was speaking after the Department of Foreign Affairs released documents related to Ms Zappone's controversial appointment.

They include a series of texts sent by Ms Zappone to Simon Coveney, which reveal that a UN role was mentioned to her months before it was brought before Cabinet.

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Minister Donohoe is mentioned by Ms Zappone in a number of messages.

In a message on February 22nd, Ms Zappone said she knew the finance minister had spoken to Minister Coveney about her own interest in getting introduced to former US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power.

Ms Zappone said it was about the "possibility of working with her at USAID on women and girls/gender equality issues and LGBTQ issues".

In another message dated March 4th, Ms Zappone said she'd spoken to Minister Donohoe the previous day.

Speaking on The Hard Shoulder, Minister Paschal Donohoe said he'd simply had a very broad conversation with his former cabinet colleague about her future.

Donohoe says he was never lobbied by Zappone about envoy role

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He said he knew Ms Zappone and Minister Coveney were in discussion about the possibility of a role.

He said: "I knew that through the discussions I've had with Katherine as a friend.

"I had one discussion with Simon Coveney that happened in the early part of this year, in which I'd said to Simon that Katherine was thinking about her own future in the context of international organisations and would it be OK if he made contact with her.

"I knew there were discussions taking place, but I was informed about the memo coming to Government that morning."

He said his initial conversation with Simon Coveney happened in January or February, and he never spoke to his fellow Fine Gael minister about the envoy role beyond that.

He added: "I had no reason at all to speak to Leo Varadkar about it."

The minister stressed that "never, at any point" did Ms Zappone lobby him about the role, and that he played no role in the process that led to offering her the special envoy position.

Main image: File photo of Paschal Donohoe. Picture by: Brian Lawless/PA Archive/PA Images

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