‘All of us make mistakes’ says Tánaiste in defence of Darragh O’Brien

Varadkar was responding to calls for Minister to correct Dáil record on shared equity scheme

The Tánaiste said there was not ‘a single Member in this House who has not said something in an interview, at a meeting or in an email that turned out to be incorrect’. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

The Tánaiste said there was not ‘a single Member in this House who has not said something in an interview, at a meeting or in an email that turned out to be incorrect’. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that every TD has made mistakes “from time to time”, after it had been claimed that the Minister for Housing misled the Dáil about Central Bank approval for the Government’s shared equity scheme.

Mr Varadkar was responding to Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy who called for Darragh O’Brien to correct the record of the House “as a matter of urgency” following his claim that the Central Bank had approved the shared equity scheme in which the State would take a stake of up to 30 per cent in a property purchase under the affordable housing scheme.

Ms Murphy said he reiterated the Dáil claim on RTÉ’s Prime Time, which earlier this week reported the Central Bank had contradicted his assertion as the issue was still under consideration.

The Kildare North TD said misleading the Dáil appeared to be a “theme of this Government” as she asked the Tánaiste if he believed Mr O’Brien should correct the record.

Mr Varadkar said it was his understanding that “the Minister has already clarified his position and his remarks in regard to this issue”.

But Ms Murphy said that while commenting on the issue in the Dáil on Wednesday Mr O’Brien did not make a single reference to the inaccurate claim. “The record needs to be corrected,” she insisted.

The Tánaiste told her he understood there were two shared equity schemes, one local authority-led and one that will be led by financial institutions.

He believed “they do not require the approval of the Central Bank, but what may be required by the bank is approval for individual financial institutions to participate in one of those two schemes. I think that is the context in which the Minister made the remarks.”

He told Ms Murphy that “all of us from time to time say things that are inaccurate or incorrect, including you, Deputy.

“There isn’t a single Member in this House who has not said something in an interview, at a meeting or in an email that turned out to be incorrect. All of us make mistakes in that regard.

“We do so in good faith and when it is pointed out to us that we said something that was wrong, we try to correct it as soon as possible.”