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Ongoing controversy surrounding the proposed appointment of Katherine Zappone to a UN role has heightened the need for Leo Varadkar (FG) to consider his position as Fine Gael leader, a prominent Clare member of the party has said.

Pressure is mounting on the Government over the manner in which business was conducted which almost led to the former Minister’s appointment as a special envoy to the UN.

On Tuesday, it emerged Katherine Zappone was told the appointment by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney (FG) more than four months before the matter was agreed by Cabinet.

Members of the party in Clare have previously voiced their annoyance with The Clare Echo over the lack of notification and knowledge given to party members when it comes to Minister visits, the most recent example being Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys (FG) trip to Clare at the end of July.

Constituency organiser with Clare Fine Gael, Geraldine Gregan believed it was time to discuss the leadership of the party. “I would be of the view that Leo’s leadership standards and the way he is leading the party should be discussed, he is sapping energy out of the members of the party at the moment. He is using a sledge hammer to crack a nut from the point of view of control of his public representatives”.

“We’ve lost powerful people in recent times like former Fine Gaeler Phil Hogan for what I would consider not to be a huge demeanour that should have been weighed up against his power and use to Ireland, Leo didn’t defend him. We had Verona Murphy, his management of Dublin Bay South and his dealings with Kate O’Connell were over the top, the list goes on, Maria Bailey and golf gate. For every slight demeanour they have been taken apart and Leo should learn the foster the team a bit better and take care of his team and not to be baying with the wolves, he doesn’t have that quality and we need to question it,” the Clarecastle woman stated.

High-profile personnel like Josepha Madigan, Charlie Flanagan and Michael Creed have been very quite in recent weeks as controversy has simmered, Geraldine felt. “They’ve been sapped completely of belief because of this whipping control of the party and I do think Leo is responsible for that, I’m firmly laying that on his doorstep”.

She told The Clare Echo, “We need to question what he is going to do going forward. We certainly need to question his style of leadership, it is not good for the party, there is a lack of energy in the party and I do hold Leo responsible for it”.

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