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Simon Coveney says he spent ’10 minutes’ with staff on night of Foreign Affairs party that breached Covid-19 restrictions

The minister is adamant he did not actually attend the event

  • 18:55, 5 JAN 2022
  • Updated18:56, 5 JAN 2022
Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Simon Coveney TD during a media press briefing at Iveagh House, Dublin (Image: Gareth Chaney/Collins)

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has said he spent 10 minutes with staff members on the night of the controversial Champagne party which was a breach of Covid-19 restrictions but is adamant he did not attend the event.

Minister Coveney has moved to clarify whether he was present at the Champagne party after remaining silent.

A now-deleted photograph posted on Twitter by his then-secretary general Niall Burgess showed members of Minister Coveney’s staff breaching Covid-19 rules such as social distancing.

The group were unmasked and drinking Moët & Chandon to celebrate Ireland winning a seat on the UN Security Council when Ireland was in strict lockdown rules.

In a statement issued to the Irish Examiner, Minister Coveney said: “June 17th, 2020, was a workday for me.

“At no point during that day did I attend a Champagne celebration.

“I was in Government Buildings for the UN Security Council vote.

“It was at this time a photograph was taken at Iveagh House that showed DFA officials breaching Covid guidelines.

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