Micheal Martin and Green Party ‘not happy’ with ‘inappropriate’ Leo Varadkar ‘leak’
A senior source close to the Taoiseach told the Irish Mirror that the “actions of the Tanaiste were not best practice”
Taoiseach Micheal Martin is “not happy” with Leo Varadkar’s controversial ‘leak’.
The Tanaiste has admitted giving details of a GP contracts deal to a medical lobby group outside central negotiations between family doctors and Government earlier this year.
Another senior source in Fianna Fail told the Mirror that Mr Varadkar “is okay for now,” but added: “It wasn’t too smart, was it?”
But the Tanaiste is far from in the clear and will face a barrage of questions and criticism from opposition TDs when the Dail reconvenes on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Green Party is not backing their Coalition partners Fine Gael in the controversy.
A spokesman for the Greens said Leo Varadkar’s providing of “sensitive information” was “inappropriate.”
Both the Green Party and Fianna Fail are unhappy with the situation and the pressure will now be on the Tanaiste to explain his actions when he comes back before Leinster House on Tuesday.
It is understood Government officials are clearing space on the Dail schedule for Mr Varadkar to address the issues that have plunged the Government into its latest crisis.
The claims, published in the Village Magazine, alleged that the Fine Gael leader shared a confidential Government document outlining a pay deal agreed with the Irish Medical Organisation to another representative group for doctors.
In a statement this afternoon the Tanaiste said the claims are “both inaccurate and grossly defamatory”.
A statement on behalf of Leo Varadkar said: “Village Magazine has published an article in its current edition which is both inaccurate and grossly defamatory.
“The Tánaiste has sought legal advice on the content of the article.
“The facts are that the 2019 Agreement on GP contractual reforms was negotiated by the Department of Health, the HSE and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) (the “Agreement”).
“Following lengthy negotiations, the Agreement was agreed and the essential details of it were publicly announced at the beginning of April 2019.
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“On Friday, 5 April 2019, the Agreement was publicly announced by the IMO. The details of it were extensively described in a Press Release that issued on that day.”
The statement added: “The then Taoiseach did provide a copy of the Agreement to Dr. Ó Tuathail on a date between 11 and 16 April 2019.
“The Agreement was provided to Dr. Ó Tuathail, as President of the NAGP in circumstances where the Taoiseach believed that the deal was a positive one for General Practitioners that the Government wished to see implemented. He hoped to use Dr. Ó Tuathail’s influence to encourage all GPs to accept it including those represented by NAGP.
“The Agreement had been negotiated with (and was therefore already in the possession of) the IMO, and the publication or circulation of the Agreement to the members of the IMO was within the discretion of the IMO, which had already issued a press release setting out its essential content.
“The provision of the Agreement to Dr. Ó Tuathail requires to be seen in the context of the potential unfairness of one representative body for General Practitioners (the IMO) having access to the Agreement at a time when the other representative body (the NAGP) did not.”