Taoiseach’s response to meeting over Varadkar ‘arrogant’, says Sinn Féin

Taoiseach’s Response To Meeting Over Varadkar ‘Arrogant’, Says Sinn Féin
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald described the Taoiseach's response to her letter as 'arrogant and high-handed' (Cate McCurry/PA)
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By Cate McCurry, PA

Mary Lou McDonald has criticised the Taoiseach’s response to her request for a meeting about Leo Varadkar’s position as “arrogant and high-handed”.

Micheál Martin said he had “no intention” on meeting the Sinn Féin leader about the Tánaiste, and described the letter as “purely political”.


Sinn Féin has called on Mr Varadkar to resign or be sacked after a Garda inquiry into his leaking of a confidential document was upgraded to a criminal probe.

Ms McDonald called the leak of a doctors’ pay agreement by the then-taoiseach to his friend “an abuse of power” and said “politically this can’t be tolerated”.

The Tánaiste has admitted that in April 2019, while taoiseach, he sent a copy of a doctors’ pay deal between the State and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) to his friend, Dr Maitiu O Tuathail.


Dr O Tuathail was head of the rival organisation, the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP), at the time.

Ms McDonald requested a meeting with Mr Martin about Mr Varadkar.

Regular letters

However, in a statement Mr Martin said the letter was a “tactic used on a far too frequent basis by the SF leader and it lacks sincerity”.

“The Taoiseach has no intention of responding on this occasion,” the statement added.


Mr Martin also said that he receives letters from Ms McDonald on a regular basis.

Mr Varadkar defended his position on Tuesday and denied doing any act that was illegal or corrupt.

He told Newstalk that he shared a document in a way that was “inappropriate”.

“I accounted for that in the Dáil. I apologised for it,” Mr Varadkar said.


“There was no personal gain, no personal benefit. I did no harm to anyone and conferred no advantage on anyone.”


I think his response is arrogant and high-handed

Ms McDonald hit out at the Taoiseach’s response to her letter, adding that it was Mr Martin’s job to deal with the leader of the Opposition.

“I think his response is arrogant and high-handed,” Ms McDonald said.

“To give the background to this, I have written to the Taoiseach on 12 occasions this year.

“I’ve written to him about vaccine rollout, about carers, people with disabilities, special education, speech and language therapy, Brexit and the Irish protocol. So the Taoiseach would need to clarify which of these issues is a waste of his time, as he sees it.

“I think it is extraordinary to think that this Government seems to believe it is OK to leak confidential, sensitive documents to your friends, but there is a problem answering correspondence from the leader of the opposition.

“All the more extraordinary given the fact that the Dáil isn’t fully operating.

“We are operating on a limited schedule, so I thought the head of the Government would have appreciated correspondence from all parties.

“I wouldn’t have anticipated a dismissive and extremely arrogant approach so as we have heard today.”

Higher bar

Labour’s Aodhan O Riordain said his party did not believe the Tánaiste’s story.

“We voted no confidence in them at that point (November) and we still have no confidence in him,” he said.

“We felt he should have resigned last November and we feel that he should not be in the position that he is in.

“But in a pandemic and in this particular political situation we find ourselves in, the rules have changed slightly, and I imagine if it wasn’t for the pandemic he would no longer be Tánaiste, and no longer be a minister and no longer leader of Fine Gael.

“It’s not good enough for the bar for Leo Varadkar to be that ‘I didn’t break the law’. There should be a much higher bar for the office holder of Taoiseach or Tánaiste.”

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