‘I’m not going to go into any more detail’ - Varadkar faces drugs question again

Taoiseach says he won’t say any more because he is role model

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pauses when asked by Virgin Media debate moderator Pat Kenny if he has ever taken illegal drugs. Video: Virgin Media

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he did not take any other illegal drugs than those he acknowledged in a past interview.

In an interview with Hot Press in 2010, Mr Varadkar was asked if he had ever smoked cannabis, to which he replied: “ I did a bit in my college years, yeah. But I wouldn’t be advocating that anybody else do the same – particularly being more aware now of the evidence linking cannabis smoking to schizophrenia”.

When asked in the Hot Press interview if he had ever experimented with ecstasy or other illegal drugs as a teen, he said: “Not since I’ve held elected office, anyway. I’ve been extremely law-abiding since I’ve been elected to politics.”

Speaking at a campaign event in Castleknock Community College in his Dublin West constituency on Thursday, the Fine Gael leader said he had “answered that question in the past, I answered it truthfully”.

“I’m not going to go into any more detail. You know I’m conscious that I’m the Taoiseach... to a certain extent, I’m a little bit of a role model.

“And you know I don’t want to be doing anything or saying anything that in any way promotes drug use or suggests to young people or the students in here that it’s in any way okay so I won’t be saying any more.”

When pushed on whether he taken any other illegal drugs, he said: “The answer’s no but I really don’t want to get into any more detail on this for the reasons I explained.”

He also said he plans to attend this Saturday’s community march in Drogheda against gang violence but stressed he did not want to politicise the event.

The issue of drugs came up during the leaders’ debate between Mr Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin on Virgin Media One on Wednesday night. The men were askled by host Pat Kenny if they had ever taken illegal drugs. Kenny asked the question just before an ad break and at the end of a segment on crime and security.

Varadkar paused and looked awkward, before referring to the Hot Press interview he gave while in Opposition in 2010.