Ex-State Department chief pays €2k to charity as review finds soaked champagne violates Covid-19 guidelines

The former director of THE Foreign Office has been ordered to pay €2,000 to charity after an assessment found a champagne party to be held in 2020 violated Covid-19 guidelines.

Three other senior officials have been asked to similarly donate €1,000 – but there is no evidence that any statutory rules have been violated.

State Department officials and employees during a champagne party at Iveagh House


State Department officials and employees during a champagne party at Iveagh House
Minister Simon Coveney ordered a review of the party


Minister Simon Coveney ordered a review of the partyCredit: Reuters

An assessment of objections found that former Secretary General Niall Burgess was “largely responsible” for facilitating the breach of social distancing guidelines within the department in June 2020.

More than 20 department officials took snapshots at champagne party took place on 17 June 2020 after Ireland won a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The event happened at the same time Ireland was under strict Covid-19 restricted to people who are asked not to leave their county or gather in groups of more than seven people.

Secretary-General Joe Hackett’s report, published this evening, said Burgess, now Ireland’s Ambassador to France, had put colleagues in a “difficult position” and that his actions were a “wrong one” atypical omission of judgment”.

He said the former director’s actions were “driven by an understandable desire to recognize and thank employees for their tremendous efforts over the years.”

The report adds: “While the Review found no evidence that statutory rules were violated, then-applied public health guidance was not followed.

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“This may have been a brief lapse, but understandably raised public concern. It has also damaged the ministry’s reputation.

“Accordingly, I asked the former Secretary-General to donate to a charity supporting those affected by Covid with the amount of €2,000 and three other high-ranking officials to donate the same amount. is 1,000 euros.

“Every official involved has agreed to do so. I have no intention of taking any further action.”

The department said it plans to publish a list of official hospitality events to be held at Iveagh House, along with associated expenses, every six months.

This event has been the source of some embarrassment for the Ministry and made the Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney arrive order a report on this issue.


Minister Coveney has said that he spend ten minutes with the staff at night but not at bash.

Commenting on tonight’s review, Fine Gael TD said: “On January 13, 2022, I asked the Secretary-General of the State Department to report on the circumstances that led to the publication of a photograph from the Iveagh House office on June 17, 2020.

“There was a commitment to complete the review by the end of January and this commitment has been met. I received his report today and I will publish it in full.

“I believe the report is a balanced and fair account of the events of June 17, 2020. I acknowledge the conclusions and applaud the actions taken by the Secretary-General.”


Reacting to the review, Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty said “there is no accountability in this report” and called for an independent investigation to be carried out.

“The report did not consider the Secretary of State’s lack of action to initiate an investigation into what it called a ‘serious violation’ of regulations in his Department – despite was informed of this overnight. happened.

“This once again raises serious questions about the Minister’s judgment.

“Clearly an independent investigation is the only way to get to the bottom of this. Sinn Féin informed the Taoiseach in a letter last week. Now it is up to him to act. ”

https://www.thesun.ie/news/8293870/foreign-affairs-champagne-bash-covid-guidelines-charity-donation/ Ex-State Department chief pays €2k to charity as review finds soaked champagne violates Covid-19 guidelines

Fry Electronics Team

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