Varadkar contacts gardaí through solicitors following leak investigation

Varadkar contacts gardaí through solicitors following leak investigation

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.

Leo Varadkar said he has contacted Gardai through his solicitors after they launched an investigation into his leaking of a confidential document.

The Tánaiste has denied any wrongdoing, and offered meet with Gardai to answer any questions they may have.

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.

It is understood the investigation arose following a complaint from an employee in the Department of Health.

In a statement on Sunday, Mr Varadkar said: "The gardaí have to do their job and investigate that complaint. I would expect nothing else.

"They have not been in contact with me about the matter, but I have, through my solicitors, made contact with them and I have offered to meet with them, answer any questions they may have, and provide a statement on the matter.

"The facts are no different to those set out by me in the Dail last November.

"My legal advice is that I have committed no offence. I look forward to the matter being concluded.

"Given the circumstances, I won't be making any further comment."

Earlier on Sunday, the Health Minister has said he will co-operate with a Garda investigation into matter 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.

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 Tnáaiste 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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