Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD has said that the evidence emerging from the Katherine Zappone Affair regarding the activities and attitudes of the Fine Gael party and its senior ministers represents an institutionalised contempt for voters.
The Wicklow TD said:
“It is clear that after ten years in power, the hubris of the Fine Gael leadership has led to a growing contempt for regulation, for accountability, and for the Irish electorate.
“In their attempts to displace the Fianna Fáil party, they have taken on its worst guise, and have turned into every aspect of Fianna Fáil that they purported to stand against.
“They now stand guilty of the same style of cronyism that led the country to ruin a decade ago.
“What we have seen today is the emergence of damning evidence that clearly indicates that Minister Simon Coveney deliberately misled a Dáil committee.
“The communications released today show that Minister Coveney, Minister Paschal Donohoe and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar were all immersed in efforts to secure a sinecure role for their former government minister and colleague.
“Former minister Zappone, and senior Fine Gael ministers, were in discussions about the creation of a role at the UN for Ms Zappone following a sustained campaign of lobbying.
“She accepted this role three weeks before the Department of Foreign Affairs first met to discuss the creation of the role, and over four months before the Taoiseach and the cabinet were made aware of the affair.
“It appears that, having agreed to the creation of a role for Katherine Zappone, the Fine Gael ministers set about using government departments to reverse-engineer a situation that would result in the creation of a job in which she had a significant role in developing and even in designing her own contract. .
“Minister Coveney has some serious questions to answer before the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence tomorrow.
“His last appearance revealed the deletion of text messages, along with attempts to mislead the committee as to the level and degree of communication senior Fine Gael Ministers, including the Tánaiste engaged in, in order to accede to Ms Zappone’s lobbying campaign.
“On the evidence of what has emerged today, the situation he faces tomorrow has become much more serious.”