Foreign Affairs Minister to face TD’s and Senators over champagne party

The Foreign Affairs Minister will face a grilling from TD’s and Senators when he appears before the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence this afternoon.

Minister Simon Coveney will address the controversy surrounding a champagne party held by officials at Iveagh House in June 2020 when Ireland secured a set on the UN Security Council.

A report published last month said there was a ‘serious breach’ of Covid restrictions and a number of senior officials were asked to make donations to charity.

The Foreign Affairs Minister will tell an Oireachtas Committee he should have formally raised the issue of a tweet showing staff raising glasses of champagne, with the Secretary General of the Department.

Minister Simon Coveney will give an account of his activities on the day the photo was taken, when Ireland secured a seat on the UN Security Council

He says he was made aware on the day a photo had been taken and tweeted, at the time he saw it as a mistake by the then General Secretary Niall Burgess.

However, with the benefit of hindsight, he accepts he should have raised the matter formally with him.

The minister says he was not present for the photograph and his interaction with staff took place after it was taken.

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