Above from left: Katherine Zappone, Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said that Katherine Zappone did not directly put herself forward for the role of UN special envoy for freedom of expression.
Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One programme, Mr Coveney said: “I contacted Katherine and asked her whether she would be willing to do this role, which is perfectly normal in terms of how special envoys are appointed”.
The role comes with a €13,000-€15,000 income before tax, plus expenses for travel and accommodation, and will reportedly involve 50-60 days work a year.
Mr Coveney said that no one else was considered as the minister thought Ms Zappone would be very good “as we had someone who was a former government minister, who lives in New York and has campaigned all her life on issues of freedom of expression, on human rights issues and LGBT issues, all of her life, and we now have her available to us if she was willing to do it”.
From left: Katherine Zappone, Leo Varadkar and Paschal Donohoe
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe spoke with Katherine Zappone 10 days before she was appointed as a special envoy for freedom of expression.
Mr Donohoe met Ms Zappone near Government Buildings for around 30 minutes less than two weeks before the appointment.
The minister’s spokesperson said the meeting was not related to Ms Zappone’s new taxpayer-funded position.
“They have a good relation and he met her for 30 minutes for coffee,” she said.
The spokesperson could not say whether Mr Donohoe and Ms Zappone discussed her eventual appointment as a special envoy.
Katherine Zappone, former Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and new Irish envoy on free speech to the United Nations
— Michael Murphy (@DiplomatMurph) July 29, 2021
Jan 22, 2015
‘Breaking the Golden Circles’
The practice of appointments to State Boards made with a nod or wink has no place in open modern democracy & could damage economic recovery. @k_zappone #Zapponyism #TodayCB #HowIrelandWorks
( research @wereontheditch ) pic.twitter.com/zxrZvzvvjT
— Mick Caul 😷 (@caulmick) July 30, 2021