Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Dublin: 14°C Monday 8 August 2022

Varadkar under pressure to take questions in Dáil about sharing of draft GP contract

The Green Party is calling on the Tánaiste to take questions in the Dáil.

Leo Varadkar is under pressure from his government colleagues.
Leo Varadkar is under pressure from his government colleagues.

THE GREEN PARTY is calling on Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to answer questions in the Dáil, after he acknowledged he had provided a government document to a medical organisation through informal channels. 

In a statement this evening, the party said: “It is clear from what has been revealed that the passing on of sensitive information in this manner was not appropriate. The timelines and the full impact of the disclosure on all involved needs further scrutiny.”

The Fine Gael leader is facing growing pressure from both opposition parties and government colleagues following publication of an article by the Village this morning. 

Earlier, Varadkar said that the article – which details alleged communications between the then-Taoiseach and the National Association of General Practitioners in 2019 – is “both inaccurate and grossly defamatory”.

However, he also accepted that the provision of the pay agreement between the government and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) by an informal communication channel to the president of the NAGP, a rival grouping, was not best practice. The statement said he “regrets” that he did not ensure it was provided in a more “appropriately formal manner”.

Varadkar said he has sought legal advice in relation to the story, which was published by the magazine this morning.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has not yet commented publicly on the allegations. However, backbench Fianna Fáil TDs this morning demanded answers from Varadkar. 

Following his statement earlier, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald tweeted that it was a “scandal”. 

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin also said that Varadkar should take questions in the Dáil on Tuesday, adding that there are “serious issues” to address.

“The Tánaiste in his own words confirmed that when he was Taoiseach he personally gave a confidential document on a contractual agreement to a competitor body of the IMO. The IMO was the recognised body for negotiating with the State on behalf of GPs. It is affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

“The NAGP had no role in the negotiations or in voting to accept the agreement despite the attempt by the Tánaiste to imply that providing the document was an effort to build acceptance of the deal. The Taoiseach was not responsible for this deal, his Minister for Health was,” he said.

“These are not the standards we expect from officeholders.”

About the author:

Read next: