Leo Varadkar accuses Martin of acting like Donald Trump

Minister responds after FF leader criticises his ‘PR-obsessed’ tenure in health portfolio

  Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has criticised Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has criticised Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has hit back at Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, after Mr Martin criticised him for being “PR-obsessed” during his tenure as minister for health.

Mr Varadkar compared Mr Martin’s comments to the “invective more typical of [US presidential candidate Donald] Trump”.

During his speech on Sunday at the annual Fianna Fáil Wolfe Tone commemoration in Bodenstown, Co Kildare, Mr Martin had criticised the Government’s handling of the health services.

The Fianna Fáil leader, who is a former minister for health, claimed the “huge increase in hospital waiting lists has been met with near silence by Government.

“The replacement of one PR-obsessed minister with a more careful successor [in Simon Harris] has simply confirmed that the Government has no health policy.”

Afterwards, he told reporters that Mr Varadkar’s tenure in health was dominated by public relations, with “little of substance” achieved.

‘Cheap shots’

However, on Sunday evening, Mr Varadkar said: “Micheál Martin has nothing to offer than mischaracterisation of Fine Gael and cheap shots at other politicians.

“He should have used his Bodenstown speech to offer a vision of the future worthy of Tone, rather than invective more typical of Trump.”

A spokesman for the Minister said there was a strong contrast between Mr Varadkar’s speech earlier this year at the 1916 commemoration at Glasnevin Cemetery, “where he spoke about the future and building on the legacy of Collins and Griffith, and the sort of invective employed by Deputy Martin at Bodenstown”.