Tag Archives: Leo Varadkar

This afternoon.

“Ceann Comhairle,

“As Taoiseach, on behalf of the State, I apologise to the women and their loved ones who suffered from a litany of failures in how cervical screening in our country operated over many years.

“I do so having met and listened to many of those affected and I do so guided by the Scally Inquiry report.

“Today we say sorry to those whose lives were shattered, those whose lives were destroyed, and those whose lives could have been different.

“We know that cervical screening programmes cannot detect all cancers, however we acknowledge the many failures that have taken place.

“We are sorry for:

failures of clinical governance
failures of leadership and management
failure to tell the whole truth and do so in a timely manner
the humiliation, disrespect and deceit
the false reassurance
the attempts to play down the seriousness of this debacle

“We apologise to those who survived and still bear the scars, both physically and mentally. As do their families.

“We apologise to those who are here in our presence. To those watching from home who have kept it to themselves. We apologise to those passed on and who cannot be here.

“We acknowledge the failure that took place with CervicalCheck.

“Today’s apology is too late for some who were affected. For others it will never be enough.

“Today’s apology is offered to all the people the State let down. And to the families who paid the price for those failings.

“A broken service, broken promises, broken lives –a debacle that left a country heartbroken. A system that was doomed to fail.

“We apologise: to our wives, our daughters, our sisters, our mothers.

“To the men who lost the centre of their lives and who every day have to try and pick up the pieces.The single fathers and grandparents.

“To the children who will always have a gaping hole in their lives.

“To all those grieving for what has been taken from them.The happy days that will never be.

“A State apology may not provide closure, but I hope it will help to heal.

“I have met with some of you and your families and I have heard your stories, told to me with dignity, courage and integrity. Families turned upside down.

“The grief of losing loved ones.

“The guilt of those who survived, thinking they were the ‘lucky ones’. Those who have lost their jobs and careers, their ability to have children, their feeling of self-worth. Who feel mutilated inside, who feel they have robbed their partner out of the possibility of having a child. A future stolen from them.

“A State apology will not repair all that has been broken, nor restore all that has been lost, but we can make it count for something.

“Thanks to Dr Scally’s three reports into CervicalCheck we have discovered a lot of truths.

“We now know a lot of facts.

“Some things we will never know.

“But what we do know we can act on and make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“The Government accepted all of the recommendations that were set out in Dr. Scally’s reports and all will be implemented.

“Now, in the words of Vicky Phelan, I want something good to come out of all of this.

“Speaking as a doctor, as well as a politician, a brother and a son, I know the lessons we must learn.

“We need a better culture in our health service, one that treats patients with respect and always tells the truth. One that is never paternalistic – doctor doesn’t always know best. We must always share full information with our patients, admit mistakes, and put the person first. There is no information about a patient that the patient should not know. No patient should ever feel stonewalled by the system. We should never act or fail to act out of fear of litigation or recrimination.

“The involvement of patient advocates like Stephen Teap and Lorraine Walsh and others has shaped and enhanced our response.

“We have revised the Open Disclosure policy so that in future patients will have full knowledge about their care and treatment.They will be informed when things go wrong, met to discuss what happened, and receive a sincere apology if an error was made while caring for them. Above all, patients will be treated with compassion and empathy.

“The new Patient Safety Bill will provide for the mandatory reporting of serious reportable events and will establish a statutory duty of candour.

“Soon, we will establish a new Independent Patient Safety Council. The first task of the Council will be to undertake a detailed review of the existing policies on Open Disclosure across the whole healthcare landscape.

“As a State we aim to make cervical cancer a very rare disease in Ireland. It is almost impossible to eradicate a disease but we can get very close.

“So, we are switching to primary HPV screening, and Ireland will become one of the first countries in the world to adopt this new more accurate screening test.

“We are also extending the ever developing HPV vaccine to boys.

“We are educating and informing parents about the benefits of the vaccine.

“We are investing in better facilities in Ireland like a national cervical screening laboratory, in conjunction with the Coombe. This enhanced facility will take some time to develop but will provide a better balance between public and private provision of laboratory services to the cervical screening programme, always putting quality ahead of cost. It will bring more testing back to Ireland.

“We need to restore confidence in screening.

“We also need to listen to those who have suffered and learn from their stories so we can find justice.

“In July we established the CervicalCheck Tribunal, a statutory tribunal to deal with the issue of liability in CervicalCheck cases. It won’t be perfect but it will be quicker, with a dedicated judge and independent experts, less adversarial than court.

“Women will still have the right to go to court.

“We established an ex-gratia compensation scheme for those affected by the non-disclosure of the Cervical Check audit to provide financial compensation without the need to go to court.

“However this was never about money. This was about accountability, discovering what happened and why, providing justice and finding peace. It was about making a meaningful acknowledgement of what happened, and give an assurance that this won’t happen again to anyone else.

“We have seen further errors in some of the laboratories since the publication of the Scally Report, causing confusion and anxiety, so we have more to do to restore confidence. We are determined to do so.

“Ceann Comhairle,

“What happened to so many women and families should not have happened. While every case was not negligence, every case was a lost opportunity for an earlier diagnosis and treatment.

“It was a failure of our health service, State, its agencies, systems and culture.

“We’ve found out the truth and the facts.

“We’re making changes to put things right.

“We need to restore trust and repair relationships.

“On behalf of the Government and the State, I am sorry it happened. And I apologise to all those hurt or wronged. We vow to make sure it never happens again.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (top) apologises for the “’humiliation, the disrespect and deceit” shown to those affected by the CervicalCheck controversy.

Taoiseach apologises for ‘disrespect and deceit’ over CervicalCheck failures (RTÉ)


Vicky Phelan

RTÉ reports:

The State is expected to offer a formal apology today for failures in the CervicalCheck service to women and families affected.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is due to address the issue in the Dáil this afternoon.

More than 1,000 women and families have been affected by the CervicalCheck crisis.

The failures first came to light in April last year, with the settlement in the Vicky Phelan High Court case.

…The author of two reports into the CervicalCheck controversy [Dr Gabriel Scally] said the issuing of a formal State apology is “a momentous step and quite unprecedented.”

Taoiseach to deliver State apology for CervicalCheck failures (RTÉ)

Central Bank of Ireland tweetz:

“The Central Bank has published the fourth Quarterly Bulletin of 2019, which outlines divergent paths for the Irish economy depending on the outcome of Brexit process.

“The Irish economy continues to grow strongly, supported by strong growth in employment and real incomes.

“The path ahead for the economy is linked to the outcome of ongoing Brexit negotiations. If a disorderly, no-deal Brexit can be avoided, it is projected that underlying economic activity will grow at a relatively solid pace in coming years.

“In a no-deal scenario, however, significant disruption and the negative shock to economic activity would adversely affect output and employment and the path ahead for the next few years would be very different.”


Economics correspondent at Virgin Media Paul Colgan tweetz:

“Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is in eBay’s Irish headquarters this morning. He hasn’t sold the backstop deal yet.”


Read the Central Bank of Ireland’s quarterly bulletin in full here

This afternoon.

Thornton Manor, Wirral, Cheshire, England.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a three-hour meeting – at online sleuth Coleen Rooney’s 21st birthday party venue – where the pair emerged with the following statement:


Varadkar and Johnson say they can ‘see a pathway to a possible deal (RTÉ)

Inside Boris Johnson’s Brexit mansion where Coleen Rooney celebrated her 21st birthday party (Liverpool Echo)

Pics: Noel Mullen via Rollingnews


“I think all sides would like there to be an agreement next week at the council if possible, and obviously there’s a further deadline after that, the 31st of October, so I would say a short pathway rather than a long one.

“What this is about is securing an agreement that works for the people of Ireland and also the people of Britain and Europe. If it works for the people of Ireland, what it means is, avoiding a hard border between north and south.

“That’s always been our primary objective, ensuring that the all-island economy can continue to develop, and that north-south cooperation, envisaged by the Good Friday Agreement, can resume. Those are our objectives, this has always been about achieving those objectives, and I think today they can be achieved.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this evening at Liverpool Airport heading back to Dublin.

Dara Doyle, of Bloomberg, tweetz:

Pensive looking Leo Varadkar this morning, at E&Y jobs launch…

Few enough words from Leo Varadkar beyond saying we are entering a potentially “rocky” period with Brexit ahead. Yes indeed.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was at E&Y’s headquarters in Dublin this morning for the firm’s announcement of 650 new jobs across Ireland.

EY to create 600 jobs over the next 12 months (The Irish Times)

Earlier: You’ve Got Mail

This morning.

In Copenhagen, Denmark.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen go for a cycle during a ‘working lunch’.

Mr Varadkar is in the middle of a two-day trip to Stockholm, Sweden and Copenhagen for talks with his Swedish and Danish counterparts.

It’s not a caption competition…unless you insist.

Pics: Jennifer Bray



This morning.

Croke Park, Dublin.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the Construction Conference sponsored by the Sunday Business Post where he spoke to delegates of the Construction Industry Federation.

Via The Irish Times:

Mr Varadkar told the conference  the Government would publish a new planning bill shortly.

He acknowledged that it was frustrating for builders and planners to see good projects end up facing sometimes “vexatious” judicial reviews in the High Court.

“That’s something, in my view, that’s going to have to change and this bill will change it,” the Taoiseach pledged.

Good times.

Varadkar promises law to block ‘vexatious’ planning challenges (Irish Times)

Sam Boal/Rollingnews

From top: The Currency; Denis O’Brien; Green Party leader Eamon Ryan; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan raised with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar the recent decision by Denis O’Brien-owned Communicorp – which owns Today FM, Newstalk, Dublin’s 98FM and Spin 1038 – to ban all The Currency staff, journalists, and contributors from appearing on the company’s radio stations.

It follows the implementation of similar ban against Irish Times‘ journalists in 2017.

He said:

“It seems to me that there’s a lacuna on our law. The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland seems unwilling to take action against Communicorp which recently made a decision that certain members of the media, Tom Lyons and Ian Kehoe, from currency.ie [sic, thecurrency.news] will be restricted from taking part in radio programmes on their stations.

“It’s similar to the decision taken two years ago in response to an article Fintan O’Toole wrote which saw The Irish Times’ journalists banned from the stations.

“The recent case they say it because of commercial rivalry.

“I sense, I’ve talked to every grouping here today, is that every party is in agreement that that’s an egregious or has a poor effect on our democracy. We need a free press which is open to debate and allows different voices to be heard.

“And whether it’s for commercial reasons or whether it’s an editorial view of a certain owner – that they mightn’t like what is written in a paper – to ban journalists from radio stations is not what we want.

“To avoid the legislation, could I ask you maybe to join the other leaders and groups of every grouping in this House, to write a letter to Communicorp asking them to reverse the decision in both cases and to stand up for press freedom.

“I’d be keen to hear your views on that so I’d be happy to join the deputy in that.

In response, Mr Varadkar said:

“My sentiments are the same as his [Eamon Ryan’s] on this matter. I believe in free speech and I believe in a free press and I don’t believe anyone should be banned from the airwaves – journalist or citizen – unless it’s for a very good reason.

“And those reasons should be somebody inciting hatred but I don’t think that anyone should be banned from the radio, from TV, or from any publication, solely based on who their employer is.”

The Currency was launched last week by former Sunday Business Post editor Ian Kehoe and business editor Tom Lyons.

Hours after the website went live, Communicorp producers were informed of the ban.

Earlier this year, Mr O’Brien lost a defamation action he took against the Sunday Business Post over articles published in March 2015 about a Government-commissioned but unpublished PricewaterhouseCoopers report into Ireland’s top 22 borrowers.

The newspaper reported that PwC recorded Mr O’Brien as No.10 on the list.

In November 2008, after receiving the PwC report, the then Taoiseach Brian Cowen told the Dáil that Ireland was right to guarantee the banks in September 2008.

He also told the Dáil that there was enough money in Ireland’s banks for the next three years.

Mr O’Brien claimed the articles concerning him in the Sunday Business Post were defamatory of him but the jury found this was not the case.

Previously: Converted

Closing Arguments

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin raised RTÉ’s report from last night concerning an apparent “non-papers” proposal for the border – claims which were dismissed by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on BBC this morning.

Mr Martin asked Mr Varadkar if he discussed these “non-papers” with Mr Johnson during their recent meetings and asked if he could outline their “provenance”.

He also asked Mr Varadkar if he was aware of them before last night’s report.

Mr Varadkar said he hasn’t seen the “non-papers” but he was aware of their existence.

He said:

“Their existence was public knowledge and commented on the papers – at least in the last week or two. Essentially the UK provided for non-papers to the EU task force on the basis that they be kept confidential and not be shared with member states and they were not shared with member states.”

Mr Varadkar continued to say he welcomed Mr Johnson’s comments this morning “when he disowned and distanced himself from those non-papers”.

He said had Mr Johnson not done so, it would have been “hard evidence of bad faith” on the part of the British government.

He said, in December 2017, the UK government promised Ireland and the EU that there would be no hard border and no physical infrastructure or associated controls or checks, as a consequence of the UK leaving the EU.

He added:

“We expect the British government to honour that commitment made in good faith in the withdrawal agreement.”

He also said:

“No British government should seek to impose customs posts between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland against the will of both the people in Northern Ireland and the people here in the Republic of Ireland.”

And he added:

“When the Government, when we talk about checks, we talk checks being necessary in the context of no deal. And if we face no deal on the 31st of October, if the UK decides, and it will be their decision, to leave the European Union without a deal and operate on WTO rules, then there will need to be checks – at the ports, at the airports, perhaps at business level and perhaps near the border too.

“That is just the reality of the situation. But  that is in the context of no deal. We’ve never been in the position of signing up to checks as part of a deal.”

Mr Martin responded to Mr Varadkar:

“I think, Taoiseach, you need to be careful in terms of welcoming everything that Boris Johnson said this morning because of course Boris Johnson made it clear that, he says ‘we’re going to make a very good offer, bla, bla’ and so on.

“….But if you’re trying to keep, there is a difficulty, he said, if you try to keep Northern Ireland in the Customs Union because one of the basic things of being in a country is you have a single customs perimeter and a single customs union so, in essence why he’s sort of dismissing the non-papers, the essential message of what he’s saying today is: he wants to keep Northern Ireland out of the Customs Union.

“And we’re all in agreement in this House, that Brexit makes no sense, it makes no economic sense, it makes no sense for those doing business or farming in Northern Ireland. It damages the economy all round.

“But I think it seems to me, very clear, that he’s sticking to the idea that he does not want, as part of the exit deal, any provision which would ensure and guarantee that Northern Ireland would remain within the European Union customs union.

“Would you accept that that seems to be his position right now? Or do you have other evidence to suggest that he may be willing to compromise on that?”

Mr Varadkar replied that he believes Mr Martin’s “assessment is correct”.

He added:

“It is his view that the United Kingdom should leave the European Union, whole and entire, to use his language, and that means the UK, including Northern Ireland, leaving the Customs Union.

“But as I explained to him when we met in New York, there is a reason we came up with the deal that we did, after two years of negotiations with Prime Minster May and her government. And what the backstop provides for is a single customs territory.

“It doesn’t provide for Britain or Northern Ireland to stay in the Customs Union. It provides for what’s described as a single customs territory  and that satisfied our demand and our desire that there not be customs checks, north and south.

“But also it satisfied the concerns and desires of many unionists that there not be customs checks east, west. A single customs territory designed specifically to meet that need. And that’s why we ended up with the backstop. And that’s why the backstop is actually the best solution.

“Because it avoids customs posts, north, south. It also avoids customs posts east, west, by having the entire UK within a single customs territory.”

Earlier: Border, Border


Eoin (from comments) writes:

Sorry, who does Leo think he’s kidding. Boris Johnson has publicly, on several occasions, disowned the 7 December 2017 declaration. He fuppin’ well put it in writing to Donald Tusk in a letter on 19 August 2019:

“Accordingly, as I said in parliament on July 25, we cannot continue to endorse the specific commitment, in paragraph 49 of the December 2017 joint report, to “full alignment” with wide areas of the single market and the customs union. That cannot be the basis for the future relationship and it is not a basis for the sound governance of Northern Ireland.”

Thanks Eoin

Last night.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar posted on Instagram:

Live from New York! Had a very good meeting with NBC in NYC about production opportunities in Ireland. Also had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy Fallon, an absolute gentleman who’s very proud of his Irish heritage.


Taoiseach’s LA visit to focus on TV, film industry investment (RTE)

Donald Tusk tweetz:

Standing together with [Irish] PM Leo Varadkar in New York. We continue looking for how to avoid a disorderly Brexit.