The Tánaiste has said he respects Katherine Zappone’s decision not to appear before an Oireachtas committee.
The former Cabinet minister has declined an invitation to appear before the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs and Defence committee to answer questions on her appointment as a UN Special Envoy.
Ms Zappone, who lives in the US, is a private citizen and cannot be compelled to appear.
Speaking on his way into Cabinet this morning, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he respects her decision.
“Well, you know she is a private citizen and she has a right to make her own decision and I respect that,” he said.
Asked whether she should show more respect to the Oireachtas as a for minister he said: “Well, she used to be but she is not.”
“She is a private citizen now,” he said.
“She was asked to attend; she decided herself not to and that is her decision to make.”
Last week, the Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney survived a motion of no confidence in the Dail over his handling of the appointment.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Government TD Barry Cowen said Ms Zappone’s decision not to attend the committee was disrespectful.
“She can’t be compelled as the law doesn’t provide for that but there is a sort of an unwritten rule that members would respect and appreciate the realm of committees and their structures and the fact they are all-party and well-meaning and intended.
It is unfortunate to say the least. I think it is somewhat disrespectful, yes I do.”