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‘Oversight’ in appointment of Katherine Zappone as special envoy, says Taoiseach

The former children’s minister has been appointed as special envoy for freedom of expression.

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Katherine Zappone (Niall Carson/PA)

Katherine Zappone (Niall Carson/PA)

Katherine Zappone (Niall Carson/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin has acknowledged that there was an “oversight” in the procedure that saw the former minister for children, Katherine Zappone, appointed to a new role of special envoy for freedom of expression.

Speaking at a press conference in the Botanic Gardens in Dublin on Wednesday, Mr Martin said that there were over 40 items on the agenda of Cabinet when it met on Tuesday, noting that this was not the most important issue discussed.

He said that the way the appointment was proposed was an “oversight in terms of procedures” by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney.

In the last 24 hours, some opposition politicians have been critical of the appointment and how it was handled.

Mr Martin said that it was time to “move on” from the issue.

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Simon Coveney (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Simon Coveney (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

PA

Simon Coveney (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar was also asked about the appointment of Ms Zappone during an interview on RTE radio.

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He rejected suggestions that the appointment had not followed due process.

“There is a lot of nonsense being spoken about this appointment,” he said.

He said that she would receive a salary of around 15,000 euros before tax for the role.

Mr Varadkar also indicated that Ms Zappone had approached Minister Coveney about taking on the role.

“She said she’s available, she offered to do the work,” Mr Varadkar said.

“She got this job because she’s the person most qualified for it,” he said.

“She’s been a national and international leader on human rights and LGBT issues.”

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