Varadkar questioned over leak of GP pay deal

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has denied any wrongdoing and does not believe he has committed any offence.
Varadkar questioned over leak of GP pay deal

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is under investigation for sharing a proposed new GP contract with a friend in 2019.

Gardaí have questioned the Tánaiste over the leaking of a confidential Government document.

Leo Varadkar met detectives from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation earlier this month.

The Sunday Independent reports Mr Varadkar was questioned for several hours in the presence of his solicitor and investigators also examined his mobile phone.

He is under investigation for sharing a proposed new GP contract with a friend in 2019.

The National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) is currently investigating the matter after a complaint was made last November.

Leo Varadkar has admitted sharing a copy of a new pay agreement between the Department of Health and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) with his friend Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail, the leader of rival group, the NAGP.

Dr Ó Tuathail has also been interviewed by the NBCI.

However, Mr Varadkar has denied any wrongdoing and does not believe he has committed any offence.

Last month, Mr Varadkar repeated the assertion saying: "It wasn't a contract nor was it a draft contract. It wasn't a Cabinet document, it wasn't a Budget secret.

"So a lot of things that have been said about this are inaccurate and continue to be inaccurate."

After being asked whether he could continue in his roles as Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise should charges be brought against him, Mr Varadkar said he doesn't contemplate that happening.

On being prompted further, Mr Varadkar said: "What I'm saying is that it is not going to arise."

In March, the Irish Examiner reported Mr Varadkar requested a hard copy of the pay agreement to be waiting for him as he stepped off the government jet after a trip to Brussels in April 2019.

Documents, released to Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty under the Freedom of Information Act and supplied to the Irish Examiner, showed Mr Varadkar also sought clarity as to when the document would be published, thereby confirming it was a private document.

The documents show that at 8am on April 10, Mr Varadkar emailed an official by saying: “Do you have a copy of this [the contract]? SH [Simon Harris] gave it to me but I put it into the recycling bin having read it. Want to look at it again.” 

His official said it could be left on his desk. The then-Taoiseach said: “Get it sent out to me in Baldonnel this morning or tonight.” 

Later that day, the official replied by saying: “The agreement will be in the car when you arrive in Baldonnel this evening.” 

The official said that the Department of Health said some of the language was still being finalised with the IMO.

Mr Varadkar concluded the exchange by asking: “Wondering when they are going to publish it and release it to members.”

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