Kelly: Varadkar still has questions to answer over knowledge of Zappone role

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Labour Leader Alan Kelly says the Tánaiste has questions to answer about how much he knew about the initial appointment of Katherine Zappone to a UN role.

The former Minister was appointed as a Special Envoy during a Cabinet meeting, but the Taoiseach had no prior knowledge of the move approved by Minister Simon Coveney.

Katherine decided against taking the role following further controversy surrounding a gathering at the Merrion Hotel, attended by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

Speaking on Tipp Today with Fran Curry this morning, Tipperary TD Kelly said the Merrion debacle has overshadowed important questions about Varadkar’s knowledge of the appointment:

“When did the Tánaiste become aware, because the Tánaiste would always meet with the Taoiseach the night before Cabinet. They’d go through everything. So obviously he didn’t tell him then.

“But if he was aware, and this is very important for Fianna Fáil people listening, if he was aware a few days or a week beforehand that this was going to happen and he didn’t tell the Taoiseach, then that’s a Government in trouble.”

Deputy Kelly was also asked about the controversy surrounding the attendance of party colleague and newly elected TD Ivana Bacik at the Merrion Gathering:

“She’s apologised, she made a fundamental mistake. It was for 15 minutes, now granted she didn’t do it intentionally. It was completely accidental.

“It was done because she had a relationship with Katherine Zappone many years ago where she represented her legally. Because as you know, Ivana Bacik fought for marriage equality more than anyone I know in Ireland.”