From top: Tanaiste Leo Varadkar Leo Varadkar; Dr Matt Ó Tuathail; Village magazine
Following Tanaiste Leo Varadakar’s Dail response to revelations in Village magazine of how he gave a contract negotiated between the Government and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) to his friend, former National Association of General Practitioners’ president Dr Maitiú O Tuathail.
Mr Varadkar denied the level of contact with Dr O Tuathail suggested by Village. In one instance saying he was in Barcelona, Spain when the magazine claimed he had met Dr O Tuathail in Dublin.
You referred in the Dáil on 10 November to the impossibility of your having had ten encounters in 2019 with Dr Matt Ó Tuathail. You said many of the encounters referred to
Can you please say how many, and which of them, you consider you have now shown – as opposed to just stated without evidence – did not happen. Can you kindly please give information that shows you were in Barcelona at a time that proves you could not have had any particular one of the ten alleged encounters with Dr Ó Tuathail.
You also pointedly told the Dáil you had not spoken to Dr Ó Tuathail in nine days, after you understandably spoke to him on three occasions after Village‘s story broke. Can you please state whether Matt Barrett spoke to Dr Ó Tuathail on your behalf or otherwise about the leak affair and/or its fallout in that nine-day period. Can you please say if you ever discussed Community Hospital Ireland with Dr Ó Tuathail?
Editor, Village Magazine
“The Tánaiste answered questions on these matters in two sittings and over five hours of Dáil debate. In relation to Community Health Ireland, Dr. O’Toole sent a brochure to the Tánaiste in November 2018 for information and informed him that it was being piloted in co-operation with the HSE. The Tánaiste did not take any further action on the matter.”
From top: Village magazine website; Tanaiste Leo Varadkar arriving at the Dáil in the Convention Cerntre
“There is more to this story than the sharing of a confidential document. I wish to speak about that for a moment.
“Our democracy is strong but we are not immune from the corrosive forces being experienced in other established democracies. I refer to fake news, conspiracy theories, the far right, the far left, unregulated fringe publications and unverified social media grievances, score-settling and smears masquerading as journalism, activism or some sort of anti-corruption crusade.
…I wish to put on the record that many of the claims made about me were trumped-up or simply made-up. Monday’s [Village] article was just one example of this. It alleged ten encounters, many of which simply did not and could not have happened, particularly as I was in Brussels on two occasions, Barcelona on one, out of Dublin on another or demonstrably doing Government business. It claimed four meetings with the Ministers, Deputies Donohoe and Harris, which also never happened. All could have been easily verified and checked if the truth mattered. Truth did not matter, however, and was not the objective.”
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar during his no-confidence debate yesterday.
From top: Taoiseach Micheál Martin addressing the Dáil yesterday; Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’ Callaghan
On RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne.
Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan spoke to Claire Byrne about Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s address in the Dáil last night and his apology for posting a contract negotiated between the Government and the Irish Medical Organisation to former National Association of General Practitioners’ president Dr Maitiú O Tuathail in April 2019.
Deputy O’Callaghan said:
“On a day, such as today, I don’t think we should sit back and accept a contorted political narrative for the sake of political convenience.
“And I also think, as a Fianna Fáil TD, it’s important that Fianna Fáil calls out something when it’s wrong and that we don’t shy away from it because of political inconvenience.”
He doesn’t believe Leo Varadkar should resign and he doesn’t regard it as an “Agatha Christie mystery where we’re trying to find out everything”.
But he said:
“I think he would have solved issues for himself had he simply said I disclosed a confidential document, I shouldn’t have done that, I was wrong, I apologise for it and move on.”
“I regard it [the situation] as a political issue and, from the Government’s point of view, I want to see it resolved and I want to see people moving on from it.”
Later, Deputy O’Callaghan said:
“I’m not accusing him of saying untruths or something like that but his explanation, let’s be frank about it, has inconsistencies within it. And that’s why I say that politicians shouldn’t demean themselves by trying to stand over a defence which has a lot of holes in it.
“Like, for instance, he told the Dail yesterday that he asked the Department of Health for the document, why didn’t he just ask the Department of Health to send it out to the NAGP and Dr O’Tuaithail. Why wasn’t it emailed? We live in an age where documents are emailed.
“Why was there no covering letter with it? Why was it sent to the home address? Why was part of the front page redacted? All of these seem to suggest that the Tanaiste was trying to disguise his role in giving out this document.
“So like, these are issues that are going to be raised as a result of the contorted defence he has put forward.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney leaving Government Buildings last night following an apology from the Tánaiste for giving a copy of a contract negotiated between the Government and the Irish Medical Organisation to rival GP group, the National Association of General Practitioners
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar’s full speech to the Dáil.
Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty challenges the Tanaiste.
Dreadful how Irish media frame the Varadkar Dáil questions yesterday as “no punches landed’ and “Varadkar escapes” instead of doing their jobs & analysing facts.
Did he break the law and act appropriately?
But no, in Ireland, its about theatre. Shame on Irish journalism. #pknt
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar addresses the Dáil about why he gave a contract negotiated between the Government and the Irish Medical Organisation to former National Association of General Practitioners’ president Dr Maitiú O Tuathail in April 2019.
He opened with the following:
“I welcome this opportunity to give an account to the Dáil of my actions in April 2019 in relation to the contract negotiated between the Government and GPs, as represented by the Irish Medical Organisation or IMO.
“I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight and also the opportunity to refute some of the allegations against me and also apologise for my errors of judgment.”
Mr Varadkar will answer questions from deputies after his address.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin calls Tanaiste Leo Varadkar the Taoiseach ahead of a statement from Mr Varadkaer at 4.50pm on the leak brouhaha.
Weasel words from Taoiseach – no answers or explanation for the clean bill of Health he has given the Tanaiste. Has now agreed that all docments, correspondence will be published as Sinn Féin has requested