Cork TD: Leo Varadkar needs to come before the Dáil and address sharing of GP deal information 

Cork TD: Leo Varadkar needs to come before the Dáil and address sharing of GP deal information 

Mr Varadkar has acknowledged that he did pass information via an “informal communication channel”, but insisted there was nothing “unlawful” about his actions.

A CORK TD has said it is crucial Leo Varadkar comes before the Dáil to address his sharing of information about a GP contract deal with a rival doctor organisation.

The Tánaiste was accused on Saturday of leaking “confidential” documents of an agreement reached between the Department of Health, the HSE, and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) to rival organisation, the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP).

Mr Varadkar has denied the allegations and branded them “inaccurate” and “grossly defamatory”. He acknowledged that he did pass information via an “informal communication channel”, but insisted there was nothing “unlawful” about his actions.

Sinn Féin’s Thomas Gould said: “It is important that the Tánaiste comes before the Dáil and answers questions.”

“The quicker he deals with this the better,” Mr Gould said. “Speed is of the essence. It needs to be dealt with in the Dáil this week and the Tánaiste needs to be open and honest.”

It is understood the Taoiseach spoke to Mr Varadkar about the matter on Saturday and that Micheál Martin outlined his concern in relation to the way the information had been shared.

The article, published in Village magazine’s November edition, alleges Mr Varadkar as Taoiseach passed on a “confidential” agreement made in 2019 with the IMO to Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail, the then head of the NAGP.

Mr Varadkar said the details of an agreement on GP contractual reforms between the Department of Health, the HSE, and IMO were “publicly announced at the beginning of April, 2019” and therefore in “the public domain” when he provided a copy of the agreement to Dr Ó Tuathail.

Sinn Féin’s health spokesman claimed that Mr Varadkar’s actions were “not just informal” but “inappropriate and wrong”.

David Cullinane said he did not accept Mr Varadkar’s explanation and that the Tánaiste “must come clean” and accept he should not have handed over the documents.

“I don’t think that it is acceptable that the Tánaiste is hiding behind lame excuses,” Mr Cullinane told RTÉ’s This Week. “The facts for me here are clear, that Leo, as the leader of Fine Gael and Taoiseach at the time, passed on a document to a friend about sensitive negotiations involving hundreds of millions of euro of taxpayers’ money. It was clearly a document that was marked confidential. People have to have faith that the Tánaiste can act in good faith when he’s acting on behalf of the State and this does strike to the very heart of his credibility.”

In a statement released on Sunday night, Dr O Tuathail has said that it “was wrong” that his organisation did not have access to the draft GP contract.

He said the NAGP had been in consultations with the Department of Health regarding a programme for chronic disease management. 

He acknowledged that he had received a copy of the “finalised, agreed and announced programme for chronic disease management from the then Taoiseach in mid-April”.

“We could not adopt a position on the programme for chronic disease management as a union, without full access to the details that it contained,” Dr O Tuathail said, adding that it “was wrong for one group of GPs to have access to the details of a chronic disease management programme, and for another group of GPs not to have equal access to that information, given that the NAGP and its members were involved in its formation”.

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