FORMER Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has said that she has decided to turn down a Government appointment as a special envoy to the United Nations following criticism.
In a statement by email, Katherine Zappone said: “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.
It comes following criticism of the manner of her nomination and reports of a private outdoor function hosted by Ms Zappone and attended by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.
The event took place six days before the controversial appointment.
A report in the Irish Independent said the event involved 50 friends and former colleagues of the former minister for children, who were seated at separate tables in groups of six.
Speaking to The Echo, Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould said:
“These are organised events for politicians and decision-makers and the whole thing then that Katherine Zappone was involved in organising this event, the people who attended it and then a week later or six days later she gets the appointment, it just looks like it’s all 'I’ll scratch your back you scratch mine'."
“To the normal man or woman on the street, there’s a lack of trust there. They don’t think it’s right.”
He said it looked “very bad” for the Government.
He added: “I think they have to realise now that when they’re in power, there’s a responsibility when you’re in power and when you’re making decisions, both public health decisions and about appointments, that you have to be very conscious of the decision you make and that they’re transparent.”