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Further revelations Paschal Donohoe spoke to Katherine Zappone the day before she was offered envoy role

Mr Coveney appears to offered the position to Ms Zappone while his officials were still examining the viability of creating a special envoy position.

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Katherine Zappone and Paschal Donohoe

Katherine Zappone and Paschal Donohoe

Katherine Zappone with Paschal Donohoe

Katherine Zappone with Paschal Donohoe

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Katherine Zappone and Paschal Donohoe

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe spoke to Katherine Zappone the day before she was offered the controversial special envoy role which has engulfed the government in controversy for weeks, new text message exchanges reveal.

Ms Zappone also contacted Mr Donohoe seeking an introduction with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) director Samantha Power who the former minister hoped to work for.

Mr Coveney appears to offered the position to Ms Zappone while his officials were still examining the viability of creating a special envoy position.

Text messages between Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and Ms Zappone were released ahead of his second appearance at the Foreign Affairs Committee on the controversy.

Mr Coveney has said he only informed his Fine Gael Cabinet colleagues about details of Ms Zappone’s appointment before the meeting where Taoiseach Micheál Martin raised concerns about not being told about the decision in advance.

In a statement issued by Fine Gael, Mr Donohoe said he wanted to “give context” to the records released by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“At the end of last year Katherine sought my advice regarding a future in the UN and other international organisations,” he said.

“I suggested she contact Minister Coveney for advice. At some point in the New Year I mentioned this potential contact to Minister Coveney. I had no further engagement with Minister Coveney on the matter,” he added.

Speaking to Newstalk he denied that he was the initial point of contact for discussion about the role.

He said: “No, Katherine said to me she wanted to make contact with Simon and I let him know that was going to happen.”

Minister Donohoe added that he didn’t know the role had been confirmed until the morning that the memo was brought to cabinet.

Last week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar released texts messages with Mr Coveney showing he was told about the appointment over a week before the Cabinet meeting and in advance of his attendance at Ms Zappone’s Merrion Hotel party.

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The new text exchanges show Ms Zappone contacted Mr Coveney on February 22 to say: “I know Paschal has spoken with you about my interest to get an intro with Sam Power about possibility of working with her at USAID on women and girls/gender equality issues and LGBTQ issues.”

“Biden has promised to appoint LGBTQ folks to high level position at federal agencies and presidential memo to advance human rights of LGBTQ throughout the world and executive order to support reproduction health care and right thru funding of international agencies and partners. All these efforts are very much in sync with our/Irish foreign policy too,” she added.

On March 4, she wrote to the minister thanking him for the “incredible opportunity” to be appointed as special envoy.

“It will be such a privilege and I will be so proud to serve Ireland again. I think the time is really ripe for change too. Could you let me know the time period appointment is for, and what next steps are as you know I’m working UNFPA until mid or end of June,” she added. Ms Zappone added she “spoke with Paschal too yesterday”.

Meanwhile, Mr Coveney has said would have “no hesitation” in apologising to the Taoiseach again for the controversy.

In a statement issued to coincide with the release of the documents, Mr Coveney said: “I am sorry that this appointment has caused such controversy for the Government.

“I have apologised to the Taoiseach for the failings on my part in relation to this issue and I have no hesitation in doing so again,” he added.

Mr Coveney said the files show “extensive consideration” was given to creation of the special envoy position for Ms Zappone.

“I am eager to go through all the documentation with the committee tomorrow morning and I will give a complete explanation of the timelines and decision-making process on bringing a recommendation to Government to establish this post. The significant detail set out in the files shows the extent of work that took place within different units of my Department,” he added.

"Finally, a review of envoy positions is ongoing in the Department, however I agree with the Taoiseach’s call for all future appointments to be made by open public competition."

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