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Taoiseach says ‘comprehensive’ information will soon be released that will clear up remaining questions about Zappone controversy


Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has promised that "comprehensive" information will soon be released that will clear up the remaining questions about the Katherine Zappone controversy.

Speaking in Cork today, Mr Martin said he expected the appearance of Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney at the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee on Tuesday will provide "clarity".

"Comprehensive information will be released, under Freedom of Information requests, by the Department of Foreign Affairs, which will also bring clarity as well to the situation," he said at an event in Cork to mark the 75th anniversary of the Irish Naval Service.

He also denied the row is proving a distraction to the Government, which launched a landmark housing plan this week.

The Government remains under pressure over the controversy surrounding the abandoned appointment of Ms Zappone as UN special envoy on freedom of expression and the subsequent fallout over an event at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin.

The former children's minister stepped back from the position after a storm arose around the manner of her appointment to the role.

"We're talking about the appointment of a part-time envoy here," Mr Martin said.

"There needs to be a sense of balance and perspective in terms of the scale of the issue."

Mr Coveney is to appear before the Oireachtas committee again on Tuesday to answer further questions over the controversial appointment.

Committee chairman Charlie Flanagan had said there were "inconsistencies" in the testimony given to the committee by Mr Coveney in an appearance this week.

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It emerged earlier this week that Mr Coveney had deleted texts related to Ms Zappone, he said as a result of a phone hack in 2020.

This led to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar releasing an exchange of texts between he and Ms Zappone in relation to the special envoy appointment.

Opposition parties have been highly critical of the Government over the issue, with Sinn Fein calling on the Department of Foreign Affairs to publish all documents related to Ms Zappone's appointment.

Asked whether Ms Zappone should release any communications she has in relation to the appointment, Mr Martin said: "Of course, anybody who can provide any information that is required should do so."

He said that he had not received any briefing from Mr Coveney ahead of the committee appearance.

"I don't get involved in that," he said.

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