Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s decision to leak a document constituted an abuse of his position as then Taoiseach.
“It’s clear he abused his position as (then) Taoiseach,” Ms McDonald said of Mr Varadkar’s sharing of a confidential document about a GP contract with a third party.
Putting a series of questions to Taoiseach Micheál Martin today in the Dáil, she asked when Mr Martin became aware of the leak and called for him to publish correspondence on the matter for public scrutiny.
“Can you please tell us, when did the Tánaiste inform you he had leaked this document? Who gave Leo Varadkar the document in the first place?” she said.
“It is the position of the Attorney General that Leo Varadkar did not break the law? Have you seen all the correspondence? Why do you refuse to publish all of the correspondence for public scrutiny?”
In response, Mr Martin repeated Mr Varadkar’s comments that the leaking of the document was “not best practice”.
He accused Ms McDonald of creating the impression that he was “hiding something”.
“You made some comment I refused to publish – I would like you to withdraw that comment as I haven’t refused to publish anything,” Mr Martin said.
The Taoiseach said that the Tánaiste rang him on Saturday morning about the publication.
He added that Leo Varadkar will address all the issues in his statement this afternoon.
“I wasn’t a member of the last Government,” Mr Martin added.
Please ask him not to use this lame excuse that it was leaked because he was trying to ensure the maximum amount of GPs would take up the contract, because it doesn’t wash
Labour leader Alan Kelly told the Dáil the leaking of the document was a “huge issue” that needed to be dealt with.
“There is a bit of time before the Tánaiste addresses the house. Please ask him not to use this lame excuse that it was leaked because he was trying to ensure the maximum amount of GPs would take up the contract, because it doesn’t wash,” he said.
Mr Varadkar will address the Dáil shortly after 4pm in his first public address since his sharing of the confidential GP contract emerged over the weekend.
The Fine Gael leader is set to give a statement on his decision to disclose the document to Dr Maitiu O Tuathail.
Dr O Tuathail, a friend of Mr Varadkar, is a former president of the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP), a rival organisation to the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO).
The leaked document contained a draft agreement reached between the Department of Health, the HSE and the IMO in April last year.
The Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) has been asked to investigate the circumstances around the incident in a letter from Rise TD Paul Murphy.