Tánaiste Leo Varadkar will not face criminal charges over the leaking of a draft GP contract, clearing the way for him to become taoiseach again at the end of the year.
An Garda Síochána confirmed on Wednesday night that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had concluded its consideration of the matter and had not recommended a prosecution.
“Following a Garda investigation, a comprehensive investigation file was submitted to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Director of Public Prosecutions has directed no prosecution against any individual in this investigation. An Garda Síochána has no further comment.”
The investigation began after Mr Varadkar confirmed he had in 2019 leaked a copy of the proposed GP contract agreed with the Irish Medical Organisation to his then friend, Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail. He was president of the rival, and now defunct, National Association of General Practitioners.
Details of the leak were first reported by Village Magazine in October 2020.
In a statement, Mr Varadkar said he was informed by his solicitor on Wednesday evening “that the DPP has determined that I have no case to answer in relation to my disclosure of a document to the president of the NAGP in 2019. I have always maintained that the allegations made against me were false. I am pleased at the outcome of what was a very thorough investigation”.
“I want to thank the Taoiseach, Minister Ryan, my Fine Gael party colleagues, my party, my staff, my partner and my family for their faith, trust and confidence in me during what was a difficult period for us all,” the Tánaiste said, adding that he would issue a full statement in due course.
Mr Varadkar is due to take over as taoiseach in mid-December under the terms of the Coalition deal struck with Fianna Fáil and the Green Party in 2020. There had been growing anxiety in all three parties about the length of time the investigation was taking and the outcome has been met with considerable relief.
The Tánaiste had maintained that he committed no crime and said the allegations against him were “false” and were “politically motived”.
He previously apologised for “errors of judgment” after he admitted passing on the contract to Dr Ó Tuathail between April 11th and 16th, 2019 on a confidential basis believing that it would be published in full imminently.
In response to the DPP’s decision Chay Bowes, the healthcare entrepreneur and corporate troubleshooter who had made the leak public, said:
“There is an air of inevitability about this given that nothing of the machine works against the machine.”
He said he had faced the “bizarre” situation of being interviewed by the Garda as potentially facing charges in relation to the case.
“After being the complainant, bizarrely, I was informed by the gardaí some months ago that I was to be interviewed under caution as a suspect in the case that I had reported to them — which is just ludicrous.”
He said he was also informed the DPP had determined he would face no charges.
“Obviously I attended for the Garda interview, and it has obviously been determined that there is no charge for me to face. Given that I exposed this behaviour the idea that I would be charged was insane.”