It must be the Longest time in the history of the State to arrive at a DPP Decision; are they going to decide to proceed with the case again Leo Varadkar relating to “leaking of confidential information”? The DPP apply the 50:50 rule; surely it is now appropriate to have reached a decision about this case involving the country’s Tanaiste who by rotation becomes Taoiseach at the end of this year.

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Not appropriate’ for Varadkar to become Taoiseach if he is still subject of garda probe into alleged leaking

10th January 2022

IT would not be appropriate for Leo Varadkar to take up the post of Taoiseach later this year if he is still the subject of a criminal investigation by gardaí, according to the co-leader of the Social Democats.

Róisín Shortall TD also expressed concern at how long it is taking to conclude a probe into whether the Fine Gael leader breached the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018 by allegedly leaking a draft agreement with the Irish Medical Organisation to a rival grouping of GPs in April 2019.

Mr Varadkar has admitted transmitting the document, but pointed to contemporaneous reporting of its provisions and the fact that it was not subsequently altered before official publication.

A complaint by Chay Bowes, the original source of a story in Village magazine which triggered a Dáil motion of no confidence in Mr Varadkar, has seen gardaí interview witnesses including former Health Minister Simon Harris.

Speaking today, Ms Shortall said she and the Social Democrats “would have concerns” if the garda investigation remained in train when it was proposed that Mr Varadkar should become Taoiseach later this year.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin is due to step down next December to allow Mr Varadkar to become Taoiseach under a deal that is part of the coalition agreement between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party.

Referring to the transfer of power, Ms Shortall said: “I don’t think it would be appropriate if this person was still under investigation.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week as part of the programme’s series of party leader interviews, she added: “I think there are questions to be asked about the length of time that this investigation is taking.

“We should be getting an outcome from that soon. I certainly hope that by the end of the year when the Taoiseach’s role is due to rotate, that we’re not still in a situation where we don’t know what has happened in relation to that investigation.”

Asked if the Social Democrats would like to see the gardaí conclude their investigation more promptly, she replied: “Absolutely.”

“I think that’s essential in terms of ensuring accountability at the most senior level in politics,” she added.

Ms Shortall suggested the Coalition could continue in Mr Varadkar’s absence, saying: “There’s been a lot of focus on the rotation of the Taoiseach at the end of the year.

“The fact of the matter is that I think the personality or the individual doesn’t matter all that much – it is the Programme for Government that matters.

“And I think the same kind of failed policies are likely to be pursued, irrespective of whether it’s a Fianna Fáil or a Fine Gael nominee in the Taoiseach’s office.”

Mr Varadkar has been contacted for comment.

The Fine Gael leader is due to appear on This Week next week as part of the programme’s series of leaders interviews.

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