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Sinn Fein’s Matt Carthy uses Dail privilege to accuse Simon Harris of leaking Katherine Zappone appointment

Sinn Fein tabled a motion of no confidence in Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney over his handling of the appointment of Ms Zappone as Special Envoy

Handout photo issued by Julien Behal Photography of Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris speaking to the media at Government Buildings, Dublin (Image: Damien Eagers/Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire)

Sinn Fein’s Matt Carthy has used his Dáil privilege to accuse Fine Gael Minister Simon Harris of leaking the appointment of Katherine Zappone from Cabinet.

However the Fine Gael TD has denied the allegation.

It comes as Sinn Fein tabled a motion of no confidence in Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney over his handling of the appointment of Ms Zappone as Special Envoy.

During his contribution in the Dáil on Wednesday, Sinn Fein TD Matt Carthy said for weeks ministers “couldn’t understand what the fuss was all about,” over the Zappone controversy.

He said: “The Taoiseach will remember, on day one, he told us to move on.

“Minister Coveney went on radio and arrogantly told the media not to create new stories.

“Rather than dealing with the debacle, Fine Gael were running a sting operation to expose that Simon Harris had leaked the appointment from the Cabinet meeting.

“Because, that is how business is done.”

Leo Varadkar and Katherine Zappone (Image: Gareth Chaney/Collins)

However the Minister for Higher Education has rejected Mr Carthy’s claim.

A spokeswoman for Minister Harris said: “This was a clear misuse of Dail privilege and it is untrue.”

The controversy arose after it emerged the Taoiseach was “blindsided” that a memo went to Cabinet about Ms Zappone taking up the new role.

A journalist first reported the news on Twitter after a leak from Cabinet on July 27.

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