Varadkar questioned by gardaí over leaking of Government document

Varadkar questioned by gardaí over leaking of Government document

The Fine Gael leader met gardaí by appointment and was questioned for several hours by officers in the presence of his solicitors.

The Tánaiste has been questioned by gardaí over the leaking of a confidential Government document.

Leo Varadkar was interviewed by detectives from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) earlier this month.

The Fine Gael leader met gardaí by appointment and was questioned for several hours by officers in the presence of his solicitors.

The Dublin West TD’s statement to gardaí over the controversy was made “voluntarily”.

It is understood he was questioned at a garda station on April 9 and investigators examined his mobile phone as part of the probe.

The story was first reported in the Sunday Times and Sunday Independent.

In a statement, a spokesman for Mr Varadkar said: “The Tanaiste met the gardaí voluntarily by appointment earlier this month.

“He made a full statement and answered all questions.

“On advice the Tánaiste cannot say anything further until the investigation is complete.

“He has made a full account to the Dáil on this matter and looks forward to it being concluded.” Mr Varadkar is under investigation into why he gave a confidential document to a friend of his while he was Taoiseach.

The Tanaiste has admitted that in April 2019 he sent a copy of a doctors’ pay deal between the State and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) to Dr Maitiu O Tuathail.

Dr O Tuathail was head of the rival organisation, the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP), at the time.

It is understood Dr O Tuathail was also questioned by gardaí earlier this month.

Mr Varadkar has apologised for leaking the document but has denied breaking any laws.

The Garda confirmed last month that an inquiry into the leak had been updated to a criminal investigation.

But Mr Varadkar said last month he did not believe it would lead to criminal charges.

At the time Mr Varadkar also hit out at what he called “misinformation” and “inaccurate” claims surrounding the controversy.

When asked if he should step aside if charges are brought, Mr Varadkar said: “I don’t believe it’s going to happen.” Sinn Fein called for Mr Varadkar to resign or be sacked when it emerged the Garda inquiry had been updated to a criminal probe.

Mary Lou McDonald called the leak of the doctors’ pay agreement “an abuse of power” and said “politically this can’t be tolerated”.

A spokesman for the Garda said: “An Garda Siochana does not comment on ongoing investigations or on named individuals.”

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