Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs John Brady TD has said that Minister Simon Coveney misled the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and has urged him to appear before the committee once more to set the record straight.
Teachta Brady’s comments come following the publication by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar of text message correspondence he had with both Minister Coveney and Katherine Zappone.
These exchanges once again contradict Minister Coveney’s timeline of events surrounding Ms Zappone’s prospective appointment as a UN Special Envoy and her event at the Merrion Hotel.
Speaking this evening, Teachta Brady said:
“It appears from the messages published by the Tánaiste that Minister Coveney misled the Oireachtas Committee for Foreign Affairs on at least two occasions on Tuesday.
“Minister Coveney told the committee that he had spoken to Katherine Zappone in February, and maintained that Ms Zappone did not lobby for the position of UN Special Envoy during that conversation.
“But he further claimed that he ‘did not speak to her when she was in Dublin’.
“However, in a text message exchange from July 19th that the Tánaiste published this evening, Minister Coveney in fact confirmed to his party leader that he had spoken to Katherine Zappone that very night.
“Minister Coveney also told the committee hearing that the Tánaiste messaged him before meeting Katherine Zappone asking if there was ‘anything he should know’.
“This omits the fact that the Tánaiste made a clear specific reference to the role of ‘LGBT envoy’ in that exchange on July 19th, to which Minister Coveney confirmed that a contract was in the process of being finalised for Ms Zappone.
“There are more holes in Minister Coveney’s story than your average golf course.
“He must come before the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs, give a true timeline of events, and set the record straight.
“I have written to the committee chairperson and asked that the committee formally ask the minister to come back in.”