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'That's where it stands': Taoiseach says Sipo has made final decision not to investigate Varadkar

The Irish Times reports today that there were dissenting opinions within the ethics watchdog over whether to press ahead with an inquiry.

THE STANDARDS IN Public Office Commission’s (Sipo) decision not to investigate Tánaiste Leo Varadkar over the leaking of a GP contract in 2019 stands, according to Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

It follows reports in The Irish Times today that there were dissenting opinions within the ethics watchdog over whether to press ahead with an inquiry.

Private statements, released under the Freedom of Information Act to the newspaper, reveal that the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) Seamus McCarthy and Ombudsman Ger Deering dissented from the decision of Sipo to refuse a preliminary inquiry into the affair.

Varadkar confirmed last month that he had been informed that he had been “cleared of any criminal wrongdoing and breaches of ethics” by Sipo.

It followed a decision by the DPP that the Tánaiste would not be prosecuted over the leaking of a GP contract.

Varadkar previously told the Dáil he had sent a copy of an agreement between the government and the Irish Medical Organisation to GP Maitiú Ó Tuathail of the National Association of General Practitioners.

Asked about the reports about differing views within Sipo, the Taoiseach said:

“Sipo doesn’t act in terms of individual personalities you know, it’s a body in its entirety and every member is equal to the next member of Sipo, so it’s not for me to comment on the individual positions adopted by individuals on the SIPO board.”

He added: “Sipo have made a decision in accordance with its protocols and rules and that’s where it stands.”

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