Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy‘s assertion that Fine Gael’s Simon Harris ‘leaked’ details of the controversial appointment of Katherine Zappone as a UN envoy from Cabinet in late July has brought about an incandescent rage from the Higher Education Minister.
The allegations have been strenuously denied by Mr Harris, so much so that he is reportedly considering making a complaint to the Dáil’s oversight committee on privilege and procedure given Deputy Carthy’s admission on radio that he has no evidence to back up his allegation.
Using Dáil privilege during Wednesday’s debate of the viability of Minister Simon Coveney, Carthy name dropped Minister Harris, who he believes first leaked the appointment to the media from Cabinet.
“Rather than dealing with the debacle, Fine Gael was running a sting operation to expose that Simon Harris had leaked the appointment from the Cabinet meeting – because that is how business is done.”
In response during today’s leaders questions on promised legislation, Minister Harris stood up to say the allegation was not accurate.
He said that he had been unavoidably absent from the debate and wanted to put on the Dáil record that Mr Carthy’s comments were “untrue“.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also thos gathered in the Dáil chamber that Mr Carthy’s claim “was wrong” and “based on rumour with no evidence whatsoever“.
He said that he hopes that the Dáil Committee on Procedure and Privileges would investigate what he called “an abuse of privilege“.