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Varadkar accused of throwing former NAGP president ‘under the bus'

Leo Varadkar says he does not “as standard” retain text messages, but retains official emails

Varadkar says he was in touch with Dr MaitiúÓ Tuathail to establish when they were in contact about the agreement last year.
Varadkar says he was in touch with Dr MaitiúÓ Tuathail to establish when they were in contact about the agreement last year.
Image: Oireachtas.ie

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has been accused of throwing the former head of National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) “under the bus”, by Sinn Féin. 

The sharing of an agreement negotiated between the Government and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) to a rival GP group last year was raised again today by Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty during Leaders’ Questions.

The Donegal TD said that Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail was thrown under the bus by Varadkar, and then he “reversed over him”, referencing reports that Varadkar told his parliamentary party meeting last night that people should be careful who their friends are.

Ó Tuathail was fully entitled to ask for the IMO document, said Doherty, stating that he has done nothing wrong. However, Varadkar should not have provided it to him, Doherty said.

Varadkar said he has already accepted responsibility for the matter. 

Earlier this week, Varadkar apologised in the Dáil for “errors of judgement” after he was grilled about what motivated him to send the document to Dr Ó Tuathail of the NAGP – someone Varadkar said is a friend but “not a close friend”.

Today, Sinn Féins Pearse Doherty said he did not accept the Tánaiste’s claim that the talks had concluded, and that only minor changes were made to the IMO agreement after it was shared with Dr Ó Tuathail.

Doherty says he counted 35 changes to the document. The Tanaiste said he could not attest to that as he did not know what document Doherty was working off, and he doesn’t have a copy of the agreement sent to Dr Ó Tuathail.

Varadkar said he was in touch with Dr Ó Tuathail after the story broke, as it had been claimed on social media that he had shared the document on 2 April 2019, something he said he did not think was correct.

He said he did not have details of his correspondence relating to the leaked GP contract documents because he does not keep his text messages.

Varadkar told the Dail the reason he no longer has the 2019 WhatsApp messages between him and Dr Ó Tuathail was because he does not usually retain his texts.

“I don’t as standard keep text messages,” he said.

He said he had to contact Dr Ó Tuathail to establish that they had been in contact about the contract between the 11-16 April 2019.

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The Tanaiste said that he has a personal email address and that he forwards any correspondence that could constitute a public record to his official email account.

Doherty said the messages he can’t provide now should be considered official.

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