Varadkar says plan to return to Taoiseach’s office ‘not reason’ he wants leak investigation finished

‘I want to restate that the allegations that have been made against me are false,’ Tánaiste says

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is due to switch roles with Taoiseach Micheál Martin in December. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is due to switch roles with Taoiseach Micheál Martin in December. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has denied he wants the Garda investigation into his leaking of a confidential report completed due to the impact it could have on his transition back to the office of the Taoiseach.

Mr Varadkar is due to switch roles with Taoiseach Micheál Martin in December but questions have been raised about this plan if the Garda investigation is still ongoing.

It was reported at the weekend that Mr Varadkar’s lawyers have contacted gardaí seeking updates on the investigation.

Mr Varadkar 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.

But speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show on Wednesday he denied he was seeking clarification on the investigation and for it to be finished due to any impact it has on the plan for him to return to the Taoiseach’s office.

He said: “That’s not the reason. This is an investigation that’s gone on for a very long time now. And that’s why I’d like it to be concluded. I think others would too.” He said that even critics and political opponents have said it has been going on for a long time.

The Fine Gael leader added: “I want to restate that the allegations that have been made against me are false.”

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.

Mr Varadkar told Ms Byrne that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will decide if he has a case to answer or not.

He said: “And if I have no case to answer, I have no case to answer.

“If I do have a case to answer it would be matter for the courts.

“I’m confident. I’m sure we won’t get to that point because I know that these allegations aren’t true. The suggestion that I have done anything criminal or corrupt or even self-interested is totally wrong and I set out all of the facts in the Dáil in November 2020... and nobody has produced evidence to the contrary.”

He said his legal representatives have not gotten a definitive answer on when the investigation will be finished.

“I understand that it is nearing conclusion but I’ve heard that before so I don’t know if that’s going to be the case,” Mr Varadkar added.

“All I can say... is what I’ve said before that I first heard about this investigation through the media around this time last year.

“I’ve cooperated fully, was interviewed, answered all questions, provided devices and documents, have heard nothing since.

“Obviously I’d be keen to have it concluded as soon as possible but I can’t interfere in the investigation in any way and there’s nothing I can do to force the pace of it. So I just hope that it will be concluded soon,” Mr Varadkar said.