Photo Credit: Department of Children

BREAKING: Zappone decides not to take UN job

The former Minister for Children said “criticism of the appointment process has impacted the legitimacy of the role itself.”

Katherine Zappone has released a statement confirming she will not be taking up a government role as Special Envoy on Freedom of Opinion and Expression to the United Nations.

A statement released this afternoon reads: “While I am honoured to have been appointed by the Government to be the Special Envoy on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, it is clear that criticism of the appointment process has impacted the legitimacy of the role itself.

“It is my conviction that a Special Envoy role can only be of real value to Ireland and to the global community if the appointment is acceptable to all parties.

“For this reason, I have decided not to accept this appointment, and I have communicated my decision to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.”

Zappone had held a party for 50 friends, including Leo Varadkar, in a 5 star hotel in Dublin just days before her controversial appointment to a new UN position.

She was given the paid position of Special Envoy on Freedom of Opinion and Expression to the UN after reportedly requesting the role, despite no advertising for applications from the public taking place.

Opposition leaders accused the government of “cronyism” – a claim which the government vehemently denied.

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said the appointment !at the last cabinet meeting before the summer recess” had “raised eyebrows throughout Ireland.”

“That a former colleague of the Tánaiste, a Minister who lost her seat in the last general election is given a new job by that Minister just over a year after she left office, raises a number of serious questions,” Tóibín said.

Focus will now turn to Leo Varadkar’s leadership in the wake of his attendance at Zappone’s party in the Merrion Hotel, with some commentators claiming the gathering was in breach of Covid-19 health guidelines.

These were some of the reactions on Twitter:

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