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Varadkar tells gardaí he is willing to meet with them over GP contract leak

Gardaí are currently assessing correspondence that has been received over the leaking of the contract.

Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

Updated Feb 14th 2021, 6:31 PM

THE TÁNAISTE HAS contacted the gardaí through his solicitors over the complaint made against him last year surrounding the leaking of a GP contract to a rival organisation.

Gardaí are currently assessing correspondence that has been received over the leaking of the contract.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the gardaí have not been in contact with him but that his solicitors have informed the force that he is willing to meet with them.

In a statement, Varadkar said: “I am aware that a complaint was made against me last November. This was widely reported at the time.”

Varadkar said that the “gardaí have to do their job and investigate that complaint. I would expect nothing else”.

“They have not been in contact with me about the matter, but I have, through my solicitors, made contact with them and I have offered to meet with them, answer any questions they may have, and provide a full statement on the matter.”

Varadkar said that the “facts are no different to those set out by me in the Dail last November”.

“My legal advice is that I have committed no offence. I look forward to the matter being concluded.”

As part of preliminary inquiries, it’s understood that the former Minister for Health Simon Harris has given a statement to gardaí in relation to this matter.

There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing from Harris, and his statement was part of efforts from gardaí to establish if they need to take further action.

In November, Varadkar said that he had given a copy of the contract – which was an agreement between the government and the Irish Medical Organisation – to Maitiú Ó Tuathail.

Ó Tuathail was at the time president of the National Association of General Practitioners, which was a rival group to the IMO. 

In a statement at the time, the Fine Gael leader said it was “not best practice” to pass on the contract in the manner in which he did.

That statement said he “regrets” that he did not ensure it was provided in a more “appropriately formal manner”.

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The Tánaiste has come under sustained criticism from the opposition over the matter, and gardaí have confirmed they are looking into correspondence in relation to it.

A garda spokesperson said: “An Garda Síochána has received correspondence which is currently being assessed to determine what if any Garda action is required.”

The spokesperson added that gardaí had no further comment to make at this time. 

Speaking to RTÉ’s This Week programme, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the first he heard of gardaí looking into the matter was through the media. 

Donnelly said no one in his department had come forward with concerns over the matter, and that gardaí should now be let carry on with their inquiries. 

Additional reporting by Lauren Boland

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