Zappone job would have required up to 30 days’ work for first six months

Special envoy role would have required two or three visits to other countries in first year

Former minister Katherine Zappone recently stepped down as Government envoy for freedom of expression amid criticism of the appointment. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Former minister Katherine Zappone recently stepped down as Government envoy for freedom of expression amid criticism of the appointment. Photograph: Dave Meehan

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Katherine Zappone would have been required to work up to 30 days in her first six months as special envoy and to conduct two or three visits to countries in Ireland’s United Nations network in her first year in the job, briefing documents show.

The documents were sent to Oireachtas foreign affairs committee members ahead of a planned August 31st meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney regarding the controversy over Ms Zappone’s selection for the €15,000-a-year post.

The former minister recently stepped down as Government envoy for freedom of expression amid criticism of the appointment, with Government members accepting that “mistakes” had been made during the process.

The departmental documents state that the position was intended to “enhance Ireland’s influence and reputation” and ensure that “Ireland’s voice be both loud and clear”.

The time required for the job was estimated at up to 30 days during the initial six months with a “per diem payable based on principal officer scale”, which ranges from €89,072 to €109,547 per year.

The role would also involve supporting the “in-country advocacy work of Ireland’s mission network through country visits” of which there would have been two or three in year one.

Events

High-level events that she would have been expected to work on were to include the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee between October and December this year; the Freedom Online Coalition in December; the Commission on the Status of Women next March; and the Human Rights Council next summer.

Mr Coveney’s department has said it intends to publish all records relating to the envoy appointment process before September 8th. It will also publish a schedule listing all the records in existence and, should any be redacted or not released, reasons will be given.

Government sources said there was some anxiety that the controversy could be reignited by the hearing with Mr Coveney shortly before the Dáil returns from its summer recess. He will be questioned on the role, function and remuneration of those in special envoy roles, committee chair Charlie Flanagan said.

The briefing documents state that two other special envoys will serve until the end of next year. They are Tom Arnold (special envoy on food systems) and Kenneth Thompson (special envoy for francophone Africa and the Sahel).

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