Simon Coveney survives vote of no confidence in Dáil by 92 votes to 59

Simon Coveney survives vote of no confidence in Dáil by 92 votes to 59

MINISTER for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney won a vote of no confidence in the Dáil on Wednesday evening by 92 votes to 59.

The motion had been tabled by Sinn Féin in response to Coveney's handling of his nomination of Katherine Zappone to a role at the United Nations (UN), as well as his response to the controversy that followed, which included the deleting of texts related to Ms Zappone's appointment.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin wasn't made aware of Coveney's nomination before it was brought to Cabinet on July 28, and the Fine Gael minister was forced to apologise for his actions before the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee.

During last night's confidence vote, Sinn Féin accused the coalition government of 'cronyism' in nominating the former minister for the role, but the Taoiseach argued the opposition was simply trying to get publicity and engage in "populist partisan attacks."

"The position involved was intended to be part-time and awarded no permanent benefits to anyone," Martin told the Dáil.

"There is no allegation of a benefit being sought for or conferred on any office holder, and ultimately as we know, no one was appointed to the role."

Martin added that some of Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald's recent statements were "genuinely breathtaking in their cynicism and the double standards involved".

"Deputy McDonald even went as far as to say yesterday that her party had been forced into putting down the motion because 'they were not prepared to look the other way' ... not prepared to look the other way? Sinn Féin?"

Tánaiste Leo Varadkrar accused Sinn Féin of trying to "hound a decent man out of office for cheap publicity".