These Shower of Arrogant Idiots believe in their heart and soul that they are Above the Law. Coveney is a Disgrace, he learned Nothing from the Merriongate Scandal, yet another Cork Clown???

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Simon Coveney ‘must address anger at department’s lockdown Champagne party’

 5th January 2022


Simon Coveney is being called on to publicly address the 2020 Champagne party held in his department and reveal whether he attended the controversial celebration.

It comes as anger grows within Fine Gael over the embattled Foreign Affairs Minister’s failure to clarify whether he attend the lockdown party in his own department.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Committee chair Charlie Flanagan has confirmed a request to call Mr Coveney before a hearing will be considered when the Dáil returns later this month.

Sinn Féin foreign affairs spokesperson John Brady, who also sits on the Oireachtas committee, said it was “unacceptable” that Mr Coveney had not addressed the controversy a week after the photograph emerged of around 20 officials huddling together drinking Moët & Chandon Champagne in June 2020 while lockdown measures were in place.

“He needs to make a public statement on the matter and state if he attended the department after the picture was taken and when he was made aware of the party,” Mr Brady said. “It’s very obvious that no lessons have been learned from the minister’s involvement and handling of the Katherine Zappone scandal and the drip-feeding of information and misinformation so the minister needs to immediately break his silence.”

Mr Brady’s comments come after the minister’s spokesperson confirmed Mr Coveney was in his department at “different points during the day” of the Champagne party. But the spokesperson did not respond to queries on whether the minister went to the department after a photograph of officials celebrating Ireland winning a seat on the UN Security Council was posted on Twitter.

Meanwhile, senior Fine Gael figures are furious with Mr Coveney’s response to the latest controversy to engulf his department.

“He has learned absolutely nothing from the mess he caused during the summer over the appointment of Zappone,” one senior Fine Gael TD said.

Another long serving deputy added: “It’s madness. Simon doesn’t seem to think he has to address questions from mere mortals such as journalists.”

A third Fine Gael TD said: “It’s bewildering that we are dealing with another DFA mess. He either attended the party or he didn’t and he should just be transparent.” 

A fourth TD said: “Any leadership ambitions he may have are completely dead.”

The latest controversy surrounding Mr Coveney was sparked by a photograph taken of the office party by former Department of Foreign Affairs secretary general Niall Burgess. It showed a groups of civil servants huddling together without masks and  drinking Champagne.

The picture also features then-deputy secretary general Brendan Rogers, who is now the ambassador to the Netherlands, and John Concannon, who was the head of Leo Varadkar’s controversial Strategic Communications Unit in 2017.

One person posing for the photograph had a young baby in their arms. At the time, there were strict government rules banning indoors gatherings while there were also limits on the numbers who could attend funerals.

A midnight tweet addressed to a single social media user by Mr Burgess, who is now Ireland Ambassador to France and Monaco, has since been described by the Department of Foreign Affairs as a “public apology” for the party held after Ireland got the UN seat.

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