Brendan Howlin attacks Varadkar's 'threadbare excuses' on GP deal

ireland
Mr Howlin was critical of the Tánaiste.
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Vivienne Clarke

Former Labour party leader Brendan Howlin has said he was “scandalised” when he heard about the Tánaiste sharing details of a deal agreed with the IMO with the NAGP.

If he had been involved in negotiations when he was a Minister and the document was leaked by the Taoiseach of the day, Enda Kenny, he would have been horrified, he told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.

Doing that was undermining the lead Minister in the negotiations, he said.

If he wanted all GPs to have it, he could publish the document then every GP would have it.

To leak the details of the agreement before the matter was fully resolved would be of fundamental concern to him, added Mr Howlin. He was also concerned that Mr Varadkar had “imposed” himself on the issue when Simon Harris had been the Minister directly involved with the negotiations between the Government and the IMO.

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Mr Howlin said that if Mr Varadkar had wanted “buy-in” from the NAGP he could have called them in to meet or circulated the agreement. “If he wanted all GPs to have it, he could publish the document then every GP would have it.”

"Threadbare excuses"

Mr Varadkar’s claim to want to share the information with all GPs “patently” had not worked because the then president of the NAGP Dr Maithiú Ó Tuathail had not circulated the details with his association.

When Mr Varadkar goes before the Dáil, Mr Howlin wants him to provide “more than threadbare excuses” and explain why he had sent the document to his friend. “If he comes clean and explains it in a way that people can believe, then he should weather this.”

Full and frank discussions were always best as it was seldom the crime, it was the explanation that caused problems for politicians, said Mr Howlin.

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