Controversy over Katherine Zappone’s appointment as a UN envoy reveals all is not well in the Coalition

When Micheál Martin was leader of the opposition, he had a lot to say about…

When Micheál Martin was leader of the opposition, he had a lot to say about Fine Gael appointments. One in particular drew his ire. “This was an insider appointment and it stinks to high heaven,” he told the Dáil on June 20, 2017, of the decision to appoint outgoing attorney general Máire Whelan to the Court of Appeal.

hat was the second time in a week he had used the word “stinks” to describe the appointment, having six days earlier told the newly elected taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “This cannot be overcome by comments such as, ‘Ah, sure, we’ll do better next time’.”

How times have changed. From the outset of the controversy over Fine Gael’s botched attempt to appoint Katherine Zappone as a UN envoy, current Taoiseach Martin has sought to consign it to the past. The day after it was agreed by the Cabinet, where he learned of it for the first time, Martin said it was “now time to move on”.