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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar leaving an event at the National Concert Hall in Dublin where CEO of Apple, Tim Cook received the inaugural IDA Ireland Special Recognition Award.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar leaving an event at the National Concert Hall in Dublin where CEO of Apple, Tim Cook received the inaugural IDA Ireland Special Recognition Award.
Image: Niall Carson

Fianna Fáil not happy with Varadkar's 'political attack' during State event with Apple's Tim Cook

Fianna Fáil want Sipo to carry out an investigation.
Jan 20th 2020, 2:53 PM 26,686 47

FIANNA FÁIL HAS said it is going to write to the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) to request an investigation into Leo Varadkar’s comments at an event today with Apple’s Tim Cook.

The party has accused Fine Gael of abusing state events and funding in the general election campaign.

This morning, Varadkar presented an award to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook.

Despite being on government, and not campaign business, Varadkar hit out against his political opponents during the speech he gave at the IDA event.

“My opponents say they are going to tear up the [National Broadband Plan] contract. Don’t believe them, they’re not going to do that and they’re not going to get in anyway.”

Fianna Fail have accused Varadkar of making a “direct party-political attack on his opponents”, with the party’s spokesperson on Public Expenditure, Barry Cowen stating:

“Again today we have seen Fine Gael abuse the separation between State and political party activities. The Taoiseach used his appearance at an IDA event this morning to make party-political comments in a highly inappropriate attempt to score points for his party.

“This is the latest incident in what has become a worrying pattern by Fine Gael and its leadership. It comes after what appears to be a significant increase in advertising, branded by the government and paid for by the taxpayer, in a bid to win over voters,” he said. 

irish-award-for-apple Source: Niall Carson

Cowen said Fianna Fáil will be writing to Sipo to request an investigation into the matter. 

The call for an investigation comes just a day after Fine Gael were accused of “buying the election” after a large government advert appeared on the front page of a Sunday newspaper yesterday. 

A large ad with the words “if you’re on minimum wage, you’re getting a raise” was printed on the Business Post yesterday, much to the anger of the opposition parties. 

Fianna Fáil’s deputy leader Dara Calleary said the ad was effectively using taxpayers’ cash to buy votes. 

“Here we see Fine Gael returning to familiar territory and splashing the cash on expensive advertising to promote itself  - and using taxpayers’ hard earned cash to do so,” Calleary said. 

“This is exactly what the party did back in 2018 after the launch of Project Ireland when it rolled out a campaign of local newspaper and cinema advertising as well as paid-for editorials to promote Fine Gael reps,” he added.

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Christina Finn

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