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Newsline: Irish Ambassador to France refuses to comment on ‘Champagnegate’

The Irish Ambassador to France has refused to publicly answer questions about last year’s ‘Champagnegate’ controversy. Former secretary general at the Department of Foreign Affairs Niall Burgess would not take questions about having a champagne celebration in Iveagh House during the lockdown. The end of Mr Burgess’ term as the top civil servant in the department was marred by controversy as he took a ‘selfie’ photograph of himself and his officials in the department standing closely together in June 2020 while strict social distancing restrictions were in place. A team of officials were celebrating following Ireland’s successful bid to get on the UN Security Council. Mr Burgess took the photograph and posted it on Twitter with the caption “Now we’re walking on air…”. (https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/ambassador-embroiled-in-champagnegate-refuses-to-comment-on-controversy-42175507.html) The tweet was deleted shortly after. Details of the event did not emerge until December of last year, causing a political firestorm for the Government and foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney.

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