Leo leak investigation ‘developing at pace’ but Helen McEntee was kept in the dark
The Garda Commissioner did not brief Justice Minister Helen McEntee on an investigation into Leo Varadkar leaking a confidential Government document to a friend, the Irish Mail on Sunday has learned.© Provided by Extra.ie
A department spokesman said this week: ‘The Garda commissioner regularly briefs the minister for justice on a wide range of matters’ but refused to say whether or not she had been informed about the ongoing Garda investigation into the then taoiseach’s conduct.
‘It is not the practice of the minister to comment on these matters,’ the spokesman said.© Provided by Extra.ie The Garda Commissioner did not brief Justice Minister Helen McEntee on an investigation into Leo Varadkar leaking a confidential Government document to a friend. Pic: Maxwells/PA Wire
The Garda Press Office also refused to comment.
But an informed source told the MoS that Commissioner Drew Harris did not tell Helen McEntee about the investigation.
‘The minister was not told; she wasn’t informed about anything to do with it.’
In the wake of the Oireachtas Golf Society storm last year, it emerged that the commissioner had told Ms McEntee that European Commissioner Phil Hogan had been stopped by a garda for driving while using his mobile phone.© Provided by Extra.ie Helen McEntee was not told about Leo leak investigation — ‘The minister was not told; she wasn’t informed about anything to do with it.’ Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Mr Harris used the Section 41 clause in the Garda Síochána Act, which allows him to brief the Government on any matters he decides are relevant. Ms McEntee then informed the Taoiseach that Mr Hogan had been stopped.
Meanwhile, the investigation into the leaking of confidential documents is continuing.
Senior sources have confirmed that a team from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation is looking into the matter. ‘Key and central’ to the investigation will be the examination of phone messages.
It is understood that former health minister Simon Harris, provided a statement in late January. A whistleblower made a complaint three months ago and the investigation is understood to be ‘developing at pace’.© Provided by Extra.ie A whistleblower made a complaint three months ago and the investigation is understood to be ‘developing at pace’.
The investigation is centred on the then-taoiseach Mr Varadkar sending a new national GP contract marked ‘confidential’ to his friend Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail in April 2019. The controversy led to a motion of no confidence, which Mr Varadkar survived.
He admitted that he posted a copy of a contract negotiated between his Government and the Irish Medical Organisation to Dr Ó Tuathail, who led rival doctors’ group the National Association of General Practitioners.© Provided by Extra.ie The Tánaiste apologised for his actions, but this week told RTÉ’s Prime Time: ‘I’ve committed no offence.’ Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins
The Tánaiste apologised for his actions, but this week told RTÉ’s Prime Time: ‘I’ve committed no offence. My legal team believe that I haven’t, but I’m willing to speak to them [the gardaí] and make a statement.’
Asked if he thought it was a mistake to send the contract to Dr Ó Tuathail, he said: ‘Of course I do and I stood up in the Dáil and I apologised for it at the time.’