Champagne party inquiry must have independent chairperson - John Brady TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD today said that revelations emerging around the organisation of the champagne party at Iveagh House tear asunder the feeble defence put forward by the Minister and senior personnel that the gathering was a 'spontaneous event'.
The Wicklow TD said:
“Department Staff and management received clear instruction in the form of written documents, stipulating that staff were to adhere to social distancing guidelines, conducting and organising events and meetings online.
"It is very evident that a decision was taken by top officials within the Department to totally to disregard the rules to celebrate Ireland's election to the UN Security Council . The day before the event the Secretary General's Office gave clear instruction that the event was allowed to go ahead.
"This despite the expressed reservation of another senior figure in the Department.
"I believe that these revelations add further weight to my call for the appointment of a fully independent inquiry. I do not understand how the Minister can remain insistent that the inquiry be chaired by secretary general of the DFA, when public confidence in the process is being eroded daily.
"I have written to the Taoiseach Micheál Martin to outline this view, having previously raised these matters on several occasions at the Foreign Affairs Committee. Unfortunately, I have yet to receive a reply from the Taoiseach.
"It is time that he took action to ensure that this matter is fully addressed.”