Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has refused to ask people mentioned in the Fine Gael investigation into Maria Bailey's injury claim to waive their right to confidentiality so that the report can be published.
His position comes as Arts Minister Josepha Madigan continued to ignore mounting questions about her role as a lawyer in advising the party TD to sue a hotel after falling off a swing.
Ministers faced continued questions on the controversy while attending a special Cabinet meeting in south Donegal yesterday. Opposition leaders say Ms Madigan must also explain why she initially advised her party colleague, Ms Bailey, to seek damages from the hotel over the fall.
The Dun Laoghaire TD has since withdrawn personal injuries claim but she has also been demoted by Mr Varadkar after an internal party report by barrister David Kennedy concluded she had made “errors of judgement” in taking the case.
Mr Varadkar has since refused to release the investigation's findings, despite insisting that Ms Bailey's actions jarred with government aims to reduce personal injury claims as well as rising insurance costs in Ireland.
He said yesterday that the only way the barrister's report into the injury claim could be published was if people mentioned in it-including Ms Bailey and Ms Madigan-waived a right to confidentiality.
“Minister Madigan is bound by client-solicitor confidentiality just like I would be bound by doctor-patient confidentiality for any advice I gave to anyone seven or eight years ago before I was a minister. She can't speak on this matter because of that.
“You can only speak on these matters if client privilege is waived. What I can say is that the advise that she gave was initial advise up to the point of processing the personal injuries assessment board application, the hotel did not cooperate with that and she had no further involvement in that. It was passed onto another solicitor in the firm.”
Mr Varadkar said he would not asked anyone to waive their right to privilege over the report. He also reiterated that the investigation was a party matter and not a public inquiry.
Elsewhere, Ms Madigan refused to speak to the media on the matter while attending Cabinet in Donegal yesterday. Cabinet colleague, Disability Minister Finian McGrath, said that “in an ideal world” the report should be published but that the matter had now been dealt with.
“Of course what she did was unacceptable in relation to the issue itself. But at the same time, I felt the Taoiseach has dealt with it and I also think there has to be a human side to it as well. I thought he [Mr Varadkar] dealt with it in a very comprehensive way.”