Zappone asked Varadkar about envoy position 11 days before proposal to Cabinet
Former minister Katherine Zappone contacted Tánaiste Leo Varakdar regarding her appointment to a UN special envoy position 11 days before her nomination was proposed to the Cabinet.
According to The Irish Times, Mr Varadkar’s office released the contents of text messages exchanged between the Tánaiste and Ms Zappone, in addition to messages between him and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.
On Friday, July 16th a message from Ms Zappone to Mr Varadkar said she was expecting to hear from Mr Coveney regarding her nomination, enquiring whether the Tánaiste had heard anything on the matter.
She added: “If you around next Wednesday (July 21st) hope to meet you,” referencing her event at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin which subsequently caused controversy after questions were raised as to whether it was in breach of Covid guidelines.
Mr Varadkar asked Ms Zappone if the event was “definitely legal”, to which she replied: “Yes, it is 50 people outdoors and the Merrion has confirmed it is compliant.”IRELANDCoveney defends deleting texts over Zappone appoin…READ MORE
On Monday, July 19th, the Tánaiste text Mr Coveney asking if he knew anything about Ms Zappone becoming the special envoy, which Mr Coveney said he did, adding that he had spoken to her that day and was “planning to have it in a memo for [Government] next week”.
A statement from Mr Varadkar following the publication of the text exchanges added he and Ms Zappone discussed the special envoy role briefly on July 21st, the day of the Merrion event, and confirmed the full details of the appointment were not made available until July 27th when the Cabinet met and the proposal was made.
The Tánaiste said he accepted he should have made Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan aware of the situation at their leaders’ meeting held the previous day.
Earlier, Mr Coveney defended his decision to delete text messages exchanged with other Government ministers, including texts between himself and both Ms Zappone and Mr Varadkar, but said he did so due to hacking fears