CORK Sinn Féin TDs have insisted the party’s decision to table a motion of no confidence in Tánaiste Leo Varadkar “was not taken lightly”.
The Fine Gael leader came under fire last week for passing documents regarding a GP pay deal with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) to the NAGP, a rival organisation.
The motion is to be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday.
Speaking to The Echo, Sinn Féin TD for Cork South-Central, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, said the Tánaiste has failed to properly account for his actions.
“Leo Varadkar, while he was Taoiseach, disclosed confidential government information to his friend.
“He can offer no credible reason for his actions and the truth is that there is no credible or acceptable reason for what happened.
“This was a conscious decision by Leo Varadkar to give his friend insider information.
“Micheál Martin has decided to take no action.
“This [the motion of no confidence] is the right and necessary thing to do and we didn’t take this decision lightly.
“This government has only been in office for just four months and over that time we had the basis of taking many motions of no confidence due to gross incompetence and bad decision making.
“We choose not to do so because of the challenges facing the country.
“The government has had plenty of time now to respond to this,” Deputy Ó Laoghaire added.
A spokesman for Mr Varadkar last week accused Sinn Féin of “political mudslinging”, stating that the Tánaiste “dealt with all the issues in the Dáil this week”.
However, Sinn Féin TD for Cork North-Central, Thomas Gould, insisted that this is not being done for political gain.
“A lot of thought has gone into this decision. It wasn’t rushed. We’re doing this because we feel we have no other choice.”
Deputy Gould said he also believes the Tánaiste has failed to account for his actions.
“The Tánaiste himself said it was an error in judgment and Micheál Martin said it was inappropriate but we feel that it is much more serious than that.”
Mr Varadkar has admitted leaking details of the pay deal to the President of the NAGP, Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail, who was a friend of his.
The Tánaiste said that although his actions were “not best practice” he insisted he had nothing personally to gain from the leak and said he did so in order secure backing for the deal from all GPs.
Mr Varadkar has been backed on the issue by his coalition partners in Fianna Fáil and the Green Party following a Dáil statement earlier this week.
Fine Gael TD for Cork North-Central and the party’s health spokesperson Colm Burke also backed Mr Varadkar.
“My view is that this has been dealt with. The Tánaiste has given a detailed account of his actions and has apologised,” he said.
Deputy Burke also stated that “the bulk of the documentation that the Tánaiste acknowledged he gave to Maitiú Ó Tuathail was in the public domain already”.