Junior Fine Gael minister O’Donovan boasted about Cabinet sting operation
September 17 2021 02:30 AM
Junior Minister Patrick O’Donovan boasted to Fine Gael colleagues that he engaged in a so-called sting operation to establish whether a Cabinet minister leaked details of Katherine Zappone’s appointment as a UN envoy.
The Irish Independent can reveal Mr O’Donovan, the Minister of State at the Office of Public Works, told at least three Fine Gael TDs in recent months of his involvement in an apparent plot to trap a Cabinet minister by pretending to be on a radio station talking about the Zappone appointment to see whether that minister would tell a journalist.
Mr O’Donovan has not responded to repeated requests for comment over his role in the Zappone Cabinet leak sting operation controversy.
It comes as Higher Education Minister Simon Harris is to take legal advice regarding a likely complaint to the Dáil’s disciplinary committee over being named by Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy under Dáil privilege as being the minister behind the leak of Ms Zappone’s now-abandoned appointment from Cabinet on July 27.
Mr Carthy told the Dáil on Wednesday night during an ill-tempered debate on a motion of no confidence in Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney that “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”.
Mr Harris has strenuously denied this claim and described it as “an extraordinary abuse of Dáil privilege”.
Mr Carthy said yesterday he stood over his Dáil comments, despite having no evidence to back them up.
“I am aware that it is general knowledge and generally accepted knowledge,” he told RTÉ’s News at One.