Health Minister will cooperate with Garda investigation into Leo Varadkar if asked

Health Minister will cooperate with Garda investigation into Leo Varadkar if asked

Stephen Donnelly said he was not made aware of a complaint from a whistleblower in his department that has prompted the Garda investigation.

The Health Minister has said he will co-operate with a Garda investigation into the leak of a confidential document by Leo Varadkar if asked.

Stephen Donnelly said he was not made aware of a complaint from a whistleblower in his department that has prompted the Garda investigation.

He said he has not been approached to speak to Gardai, but will do so if asked.

The controversy relates to the leaking of a GP contract for the Irish Medical Organisation to the head of a rival group by Mr Varadkar in 2019, while he was Taoiseach.

On Sunday, Mr Donnelly said no one in his department had made him aware of a complaint to Gardai.

He told RTÉ's The Week in Politics: "I'm not aware of anything like that.

"I think a complaint has been made to the guards, they're looking into it, and I think we need to let them just get on with their inquiries."

He added: "The first I heard about it was was it being reported through the media."

Asked if he had been approached by the Gardai, Mr Donnelly said: "No, I haven't. Obviously I will, it goes without saying, if they do.

"This did happen I think, quite some time before I came into came into the role. But needless to say, I will if they're looking for anything."

A spokesperson for the Gardai said: "An Garda Siochana has received correspondence which is currently being assessed to determine what if any Garda action is required.

"An Garda Siochana has no further comment at this time."

Mr Varadkar has previously admitted to giving a copy of the document to his friend Dr Maitiu O Tuathail, who at the time was president of the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP), a rival of the IMO, in April 2019.

The Fine Gael leader came under fire for passing the documents, regarding a GP pay deal with the Irish Medical Organisation to a rival organisation.

The Government won a confidence motion in Mr Varadkar on the issue by 92 votes to 65 in October last year.

The Tánaiste said he recognised his actions were "not best practice", but insisted he had nothing personally to gain from the leak and said he did so in order to secure backing for the deal from all GPs.

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