Republic of Ireland news

Katherine Zappone to be invited to appear before Oireachtas committee

The Republic's former minister for children and youth affairs Katherine Zappone
Cate McCurry, PA

Former government minister Katherine Zappone is to be invited to appear before an Oireachtas committee about the controversy surrounding her appointment.

The Foreign Affairs committee agreed to invite the former children’s minister to answer questions about the government’s process of appointing her as a UN special envoy.

Committee members agreed that Ms Zappone would be invited to appear before them in the coming weeks.

Ms Zappone is currently living in the US and cannot be compelled to accept the invitation.

The committee wants to question Ms Zappone about her role in the process of appointing her as a special envoy for freedom of expression, which she then turned down following a backlash.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney appeared twice before the committee to answer questions on how the role came about and the decision to appoint Ms Zappone.

Mr Coveney was forced to apologise to the committee for how he handled the fallout, and yesterday the senior Fine Gael minister said he was “embarrassed” by the fiasco.

He will later today face a motion of no-confidence which is being tabled by Sinn Féin.

Mr Coveney said yesterday that he has strong support from within his party.

The committee also agreed to invite the secretary general of the Department of Taoiseach Martin Fraser to address questions about the botched appointment.

The long-running saga has been dragging on for almost eight weeks, and it appears that it will continue to blight senior Fine Gael ministers and the coalition government.

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Republic of Ireland news