Varadkar denies that requests for updates on leak inquiry are putting ‘pressure’ on gardaí

Tánaiste says that seeking a progress report in this regard is ‘entirely normal’

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has denied that requests made by his lawyers for updates on the investigation into his leaking of a confidential report amounted to putting pressure on gardaí. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has denied that requests made by his lawyers for updates on the investigation into his leaking of a confidential report amounted to putting pressure on gardaí. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has denied that requests made by his lawyers for updates on the investigation into his leaking of a confidential report amounted to putting pressure on gardaí.

The Fine Gael leader is the subject of a Garda investigation after he leaked a copy of a report on a proposed new GP contract to his friend Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail in April 2019.

The document contained details of the deal the then government had provisionally agreed with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO).

Dr Ó Tuathail was at the time the president of the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP), a rival organisation also representing GPs that is now defunct.

In 2020 Mr Varadkar apologised for “errors of judgment”, but he has also said his legal advice was that he did not commit a criminal offence. He has said he does not believe charges will be brought against him.

The Garda investigation has lasted several months and the Sunday Independent reported at the weekend that Mr Varadkar’s lawyers have contacted gardaí on a number of occasions to seek updates.

At a press conference on Monday Mr Varadkar rejected a suggestion that this was putting pressure on gardaí.

He said: “There’s no question of pressure. It’s seeking a progress report or an update and that’s entirely normal and entirely provided for.”

Earlier this month Mr Varadkar told RTÉ Radio the document in question was not a contract nor a Cabinet document subject to conifdentiality.

He said: “Those are false allegations. They’re allegations made by political opponents who are somewhat obsessed by me, despise my party and are increasingly vocal supporters of another party.

“When I heard from the media around this time last year that this investigation was happening I had hoped it would be concluded quickly - it hasn’t been.

“That’s not something that is under my control. I’ve cooperated fully.”

Mr Varadkar said he was interviewd last April and he “answered all questions, provided documents, provided devices” and added: “I’ve heard nothing since then.

“I have no control over the pace of this investigation.”