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Varadkar apologises to Fine Gael over Zappone controversy

The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has apologised to his party over the controversy surrounding the attem...
Sean Defoe
Sean Defoe

14.04 13 Sep 2021


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Varadkar apologises to Fine Ga...

Varadkar apologises to Fine Gael over Zappone controversy

Sean Defoe
Sean Defoe

14.04 13 Sep 2021


Share this article


The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has apologised to his party over the controversy surrounding the attempted appointment of Katherine Zappone as a UN Special Envoy.

The imminent motion of no-confidence in Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney is overshadowing the Fine Gael think-in in Co Meath.

On the Zappone controversy, Mr Varadkar says a memo outlining the planned appointment was given to Taoiseach Micheál Martin a day before the controversial Cabinet meeting.

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This would contradict the Taoiseach's claim he was blindsided by the move at the meeting.

Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath has said no name was given in the Cabinet memo.

But Mr Varadkar insists the Taoiseach's office was made aware.

At the think-in, Mr Varadkar and Mr Coveney apologised to the party.

Speaking to the media, Mr Varadkar explains: "We both did, as did Paschal [Donohoe], and this should have been a meeting where we were talking about the enormous successes and the enormous progress that the Government made over the summer.

"And instead of talking about those things over the summer, people were focusing on unforced errors made by senior Fine Gael politicians, including me, so yeah I did".

The ongoing saga has raised serious questions about the judgement of the Fine Gael leadership, with Mr Varadkar admitting it has been a difficult summer.

While Green Party leader Eamon Ryan says he will support Minister Coveney in the upcoming no confidence motion.

Speaking earlier to Newstalk Breakfast, he said: "There were mistakes made, the process wasn't right - but we believe that the Government has important work to do.

"It is a well-functioning Government, we work well together.

"Each of us will make mistakes, there'll be things that we need to change and pull each other up on, but this is a Government that... has in my mind managed our way through incredibly difficult COVID crisis."

But he said the coalition needs to focus on the recovery.

"We have to apply the same discipline and the same attention to detail now on the bigger challenge we have - which is to address the ecological crisis we're in and get our people back working and deliver Sláintecare.

"There's a whole list of projects - last but not least - delivering on housing policy.

"And I think the Housing for All strategy we published last week.... is the right way to go, and it's our job now to go out and deliver that.

"And that's why we will be voting against the motion of no confidence."

Additional reporting: Jack Quann

Main image: Tánaiste and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar (left) on the roof of Trim Castle Hotel, speaking to the media during the Fine Gael think-in in Co Meath, with Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton. Picture by: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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Apology Fine Gael Fine Gael Think-in Katherine Zappone Leo Varadkar Simon Coveney

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