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One a day Live

Simon Coveney: Regrettable that Brexit briefing was leaked to media

The Government has stopped circulating sensitive reports on how the UK Government is handling Brexit negotiations after one was leaked in November.

Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney, said it was embarrassing for some of those named in the confidential and scathing briefing paper compiled by ambassadors and embassy staff across Europe.

It was the first of 40 such secret weekly summaries to have been made public.

"It’s very disappointing and regrettable that a recipient of the summary would have leaked it to a journalist," Mr Coveney said.

None of the briefing papers have been circulated across Government departments since November 23 as a result of the leak.

The internal Government paper was obtained by RTÉ News and branded the UK performance in Brexit talks as chaotic and incoherent.

It was dated between November 6 and 10 and it gave scathing assessments of key UK Cabinet members such as Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Mr Coveney said the secretary general of his department was investigating the leak but added he was keeping an open mind on how it occurred and how a repeat can be prevented.

All the recipients of the supposedly secret document have been contacted in the investigation, he told the Dáil.

"These are weekly working documents that are summaries. This isn’t a significant report that was leaked. But it shouldn’t have happened. We are annoyed about it," Mr Coveney said.

He added: "This weekly summary should not have been leaked. It was embarrassing for some of the people who are named in it. We obviously made the necessary contacts to reassure people and to explain what had happened and to assure that it would not happen again."

Mr Coveney said a distribution list for the sensitive documents has been cancelled until there are assurances that a repeat leak will not happen.