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Ivana say sorry Ivana Bacik apologises for attending Katherine Zappone’s Merrion Hotel party

"I understood the event was within the regulations but regret my brief attendance in the circumstances"

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Labour TD Ivana Bacik. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins.

Labour TD Ivana Bacik. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins.

Labour TD Ivana Bacik. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins.

Labour TD Ivana Bacik has apologised for her attendance at Katherine Zappone’s party in the Merrion Hotel last month.

In a statement, the newly elected TD said she regretted attending the event which was also attended by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and resulted in the Government issuing new rules for the hospitality sector.

“I confirmed last week that I was briefly in attendance for approx. 15/20 minutes at an outdoor event organised by Katherine Zappone on 21st July,” Ms Bacik said.

“I understood the event was within the regulations but regret my brief attendance in the circumstances, and apologise for being there. Alan Kelly has accepted my apology,” she added.

The Labour Party leader, who is a regular critic of the Government, has not made any comment on Ms Bacik’s attendance at the party.

Mr Kelly recently accused the Government of overseeing discriminatory policies when indoor dining certificates were introduced.

Ms Bacik’s director of elections for the Dublin Bay South by-election, Duncan Smith, initially criticised Ms Zappone’s party but has not commented since it emerged his Labour colleague attended the event.

Ms Bacik’s comments follow the Tánaiste apologising to the hospitality sector for his attendance at the party.

Restaurants, pubs and hotels have complained they lost out on revenue because they did not know they were permitted to host large outdoor parties such as the one organised by Ms Zappone.

On Sunday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin gave his full backing to Mr Varadkar.

The Taoiseach said the Merrion Hotel party did not breach Covid-19 regulations and noted Mr Varadkar expressed regret. He said there is a need for “consistency and clarity” around hospitality guidelines but insisted the public should take “personal responsibility”.

Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers and Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, who are both Fianna Fáil TDs, also backed Mr Varadkar.

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There has been no comment from any of Mr Varadkar’s senior ministerial colleagues on his attendance at the event.

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