TDs back Tánaiste Leo Varadkar in Dáil confidence vote

TDs back Tánaiste Leo Varadkar in Dáil confidence vote

Julien Behal Photography handout photo of Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar during the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation Press Conference at Government Buildings, Dublin.

TDs voted confidence in Tánaiste Leo Varadkar in the Dáil on Tuesday by 92 votes to 65.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin proposed the motion in response to Sinn Féin tabling a motion of no-confidence in Mr Varadkar in relation to his handling of a confidential document agreed with the Irish Medical Organisation to a rival group of GPs in 2019.

Mr Varadkar admitted that leaking the pay deal to president of the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) Dr Maitiú O Tuathail by informal communication was not best practice.

He said he regretted it and was "sorry for the controversy and the annoyance that his actions have caused", an apology which he repeated in the Dáil on Tuesday evening, saying he had learned from it.

Speaking during the debate on Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin accused Sinn Féin of engaging in a "100% cynical move" by tabling the motion.

"The decision by Sinn Féin to table a motion of no-confidence was based on that party's hope that something would turn up that would help them use today for an aggressive political attack on the Government. It was a 100% cynical move.

"They've been left scrambling by the reality that nothing significantly has changed since last week's two-hour session,” he said.

Mr Martin said Mr Varadkar's actions were a "legitimate point of public concern", one that TDs had the right to ask questions about, but that “nobody has demonstrated any personal gain from how the document was distributed and public policy was not adversely impacted”.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney claimed the motion in the Tánaiste was a "political smear campaign" by Sinn Féin that was "masquerading as whistleblowing" and that the motion was put forward to "capitalise on a mistake made by the Tánaiste".

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