Simon Coveney: Irish Foreign Minister facing a vote of confidence
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney (Photo) faces a vote of confidence later when the Dáil (Irish parliament) returns from their summer recess, writes the BBC.
Coveney has been criticized for her handling of the appointment of former government minister Katherine Zappone as UN special envoy.
He denied being pressured to appoint her, but apologized for not letting cabinet know before a meeting in July.
She has since refused the job.
Sinn Féin tabled a motion of censure against Mr. Coveney, but the government must table a confidence countermotion which will be debated by the TD (deputies) and voted on later.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin, of Fianna Fáil, described Coveney’s failure to notify his government colleagues of the appointment before the cabinet meeting, a move that reportedly caused divisions.
Coveney’s party, Fine Gael, is part of a coalition with Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.
It later emerged that Coveney’s party leader Leo Varadkar had only been aware of the appointment of a “UN Special Envoy for Freedom of Opinion and Expression” week before cabinet, when Zappone texted him about it.
In messages published by Varadkar in September, he showed that he subsequently asked Coveney about the role ahead of the cabinet meeting in July.
Zappone replied that his contract would be finalized soon.
On August 4, Zappone announced that she would not be serving as Special Envoy because she felt “it is clear that criticism of the appointment process has had an impact on the legitimacy of the role itself.”
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has called for Coveney’s dismissal and raised the prospect of a vote of no confidence.
She described her actions as not being “of the level expected of a minister”.
The Labor Party has said it does not trust the government, but Leader Alan Kelly said there were “bigger issues” than the dispute.
On Tuesday (September 14), Coveney told a party conference he was “embarrassed” that the nomination had led to a “fiasco”.
“It hasn’t been my best month in politics,” he said.