Taoiseach Leo Varadkar after presenting former Taoiseach Enda Kenny with the Irish European of the Year award, which the European Movement awarded to him “for his leadership in accepting Europe’s onerous terms leading Ireland out of the bailout”.
I was honoured today to present the European of the Year Award to Iar-Taoiseach Enda Kenny. When the history books are written it will be said that he was the Taoiseach who gave us back our future. pic.twitter.com/dtLokjepnA
Then Director General HSE Tony O Brien (left) and Minister for Health Leo Varadkar TD at the publication of 2016 HSE National Service Plan in St Dr Steevens Hospital in Dublin.
The resignation last night of HSE Director General Tony O’Brien after three HSE memos warning of the CervicalCheck scandal emerged has put the spotlight on Leo Varadkar
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland earlier, speculated that Mr Varadkar, while Minister of Health in 2016, must have been privy the briefing notes, including one from March of that year outlining a ‘communication strategy’ for the media.
The Department of Health said no health ministers had seen those memos.
Audrey Carville: “Do you believe that the Minister for health at the time, March 2016. Leo Varadkar did not see this memo?
Micheál Martin: “My understanding is, he’s saying he didn’t see it. The Minister for Health is saying he didn’t…”
Carville: “Is that credible?”
Martin: “find it very difficult to comprehend because in the department’s statement last night it is saying it [the memo] was shared with the acute hospitals’ division of the department and it was shared with the Chief Medical Officer.
Now the department’s senior management team hold regular management meetings with the minister in attendance and the next question is: ‘was it ever discussed at central management meetings within the department with the Secretary General and the minister?'”
When I appear in public – say at a Committee I conduct myself against a simple standard. Would I be happy for my children or my mother to see how I behave? I sometimes look across the room and hope their children will never see and hear how they behave.
A high-flying businessman who chairs the board of the Mater Hospital hosted a secret fundraising supper for Leo Varadkar this week, the Irish Independent can reveal.
The frontrunner to be the next taoiseach has held a number of fundraising events in recent months, including one on Tuesday night at an exclusive private members’ club in Dublin city centre. The event was hosted by Thomas Lynch who is believed to have made a small fortune through his involvement in the pharma sector.
Mr Lynch is currently chairperson of the Dublin East Hospital Group whose remit includes St Vincent’s University Hospital and the National Maternity Hospital.
He is also chair of Icon plc, one of the world’s largest clinical research organisations and has a colourful CV including a period as chief financial officer at drugs firm Elan.
The Irish Independent understands the Belfast native invited a select group of business people to a ‘meet and greet’ with Mr Varadkar at the plush Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) and Minister for Health Simon Harris with official Hospice dog Rian as they visit Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Harold’s Cross, to conduct the official opening of its new €15 million palliative care unit.
Asked if he had confidence in the management at Cervical Check, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he had absolute confidence in the screening programme, but in terms of personnel, he said he did not want to condemn any individuals before the review was completed.
He said he wanted to establish the facts and urged anyone who has been called for screening to attend.
Mr Varadkar also said it was currently being verified that the 206 women were informed of the situation and said he thinks they have been and wants to make sure that is the case.
Vera Twomey received a People of the Year award last week for her successful campaign to obtain medicinal cannabis for her daughter Ava, a sufferer of Dravet Syndrome.
Ms Twomey has claimed she confronted Mr Varadkar before the awards ceremony about the passage of legislation to make it easier to access cannabis oil.
Describing him as “rude”, Ms Twomey said the Taoiseach told her he could not support the bill as he had not received promised amendments from its sponsor, Solidarity–People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny.
Ronan Emmett writes:
Is he a liar or not? This cuts to the very heart of our democracy and people like him get away with it when good people say nothing.
Is Leo a liar? If he is he needs to go. This isn’t funny anymore. It’s time for some radical action.
Mr Martin said this report hasn’t been acted upon since it was published in April 2017 and called for a national law to be established for source protection.
Mr Martin added:
“Will you reaffirm to the house because I think something happened yesterday, whereby an actor of the State – the Director of the Office Corporate Enforcement was essentially, received correspondence that in line of his duty, he may be peronsally held liable in respect of certain things.
“I think it’s very important that the messages goes out from the Oireachtas and form Government that any actor of the State is indemnified and will not lose out personally in any way for conducting his duty on behalf of the taxpayer and on behalf of the State.
“I think it’s very important that that affirmation should be given in respect of the ODCE director today.”
Mr Varadkar said:
“Thanks very much, deputy, for raising this important question and to answer yours, I think given recent revelations, yes we are going to have to give consideration to legislation in this area to protect sources.
“I’m not aware of any legislation being drafted currently by Government and I haven’t seen any legislation drafted by Opposition, in the form of private members’ bills in the past two years but perhaps, perhaps time has certainly come for Government to dust down those reports and give consideration to legislation in this area.
“I think having an Independent News and Media is a cornerstone to our democracy, it is after all the fourth estate.
“I believe journalists must be free to pursue stories that they want to pursue. Their sources should be protected, free from any unjust interference, external or internal.
“We need to the plurality of voices in the media. We need to ensure that these voices are not drowned our or silenced and we also need diversity and ownership. So I commend journalists who work to report on this story, including journalists at Independent News and Media who haven’t allowed their independence to be compromised.
“A report of the data breach represent a significant a very significant threat to the freedom of our press, however I think that the way that the media has responded to this threat to date should reassure us that our press will not be silenced.
“Obviously, any alleged breach of personal data is a matter of concern, heather it relates to journalists or public citizens and it’s important to say that although this is now a matter before the courts, we need to respect that and bear in mind that in terms of our contributions and I know the deputy has.
“The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the ODCE, which is a Government office at the Department of Business has now made an application to the high court under Section 748 of the Companiess Act 2014 to appoint inspectors to investigate the affairs of INM.
“This is now an enforcement matter for the ODCE. Section 949, subsection 3 of the Companies Act, provides that the Director of Corporate Enforcement shall be independent in the performance of its statutory functions.
“That case commenced as of yesterday.
“In terms of indemnity, it is absolutely the case that any public servant that acts properly, and acts in accordance with their mandate, and doesn’t breach any law or ethical principles is of course indemnified by the State.”
After Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald also asked questions in light of the alleged data breach at INM, Tipperary’s Independent TD Michael Lowry asked his question of the Taoiseach…
“Sorry to trouble you with more mundane and practical matters but some of you city representatives and urban centres wouldn’t recognise or realise the huge problem, the massive problem we have in relation to rural and county roads…”