Taoiseach refuses to engage in 'tit for tat' personal attacks on Martin

Daniel McConnell and David Raleigh

The Taoiseach said it is fine for Micheál Martin to engaging in negative personalised attacks on him, but he won't be responding.

Speaking at an event in Dublin, Leo Varadkar said he was not going to get involved in “tit for tat personalised comments”.

Leo Varadkar at the opening of Zen Desk’s new HQ in Dublin this afternoon. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

When pressed that he and Mr Martin have been engaged in a bitter war of words in recent days, Mr Varadkar responded: “Well I haven't, I don't think I have said one personalised negative thing about Micheal Martin or made a personalised remark about him.

"Look it, it is a free country and he is entitled to free speech and if he wants to make personalised attacks on me that is fine. I am not going to be engaging in tit for tat.”

In Limerick today, Mr Martin described his coalition partner Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as a “prickly” man “with an authoritarian streak”.

"Leo Varadkar has (always) fed off the Irish media. I would have thought most people would say he got very beneficial media treatment for the last twelve months.”

“He has used the Irish media (and) he would have been notorious as a leaker, providing information to the journalists who he now accuses of being gossipers around Leinster house.”

Mr Varadkar said the Government disagrees with the Council of Europe's anti-corruption body's concerns over its Judicial Appointments Bill.

He said concerns over the having of a lay majority and lay chairman on the new commission would leave it open to political interference are unfounded.

"We disagree with them on one point, the Judicial Appointments Bill. They are arguing that there will be more lay members on the new commission that it will be open to political interference.

"We disagree with that assessment because the lay people who are appointed will be appointed in a transparent way through the Public Appointments Service," he said.


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