Taoiseach says lessons need to be learned from handling of Zappone appointment

There can be ‘no doubt’ in public’s mind about how appointments are made, says Martin

Micheál Martin: ‘There can be no doubt in the public’s mind about how appointments are made by Government in future.’ Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Micheál Martin: ‘There can be no doubt in the public’s mind about how appointments are made by Government in future.’ Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said lessons need to be learned by the Government in the wake of how Katherine Zappone’s appointment was handled by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.

Mr Coveney on Tuesday strongly denied he offered former minister Katherine Zappone a role as a special envoy to the United Nations as early as last March.

At an appearance before the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr Coveney also rejected claims that Ms Zappone lobbied for the position or that he breached Freedom of Information legislation by deleting texts between himself and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

However, Mr Coveney apologised for “sloppiness”, and for making mistakes in the past few weeks, when explaining the circumstances in which Ms Zappone was offered the role of special envoy for LBGTI rights and freedom of expressions.

In comments intended to draw a line under the controversy, the Taoiseach on Tuesday evening said Mr Coveney had now given an account to an Oireachtas Committee on the chronology of events that led to the appointment.

While some members of the Opposition continued to question Mr Coveney’s account, the comments were received by Government colleagues as an acceptance by the Taoiseach that Mr Coveney had given his testimony in good faith, with sources stressing he had been consistent throughout in his insistence Ms Zappone had not asked for a job.

However, Mr Martin said: “Perception does matter in public life and appointments must be, and seen to be, fully open and transparent.

“There can be no doubt in the public’s mind about how appointments are made by Government in future.”