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(File photo) Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie
Courts

Paul Murphy takes Sipo to High Court over decision not to investigate Varadkar over contract leak

Murphy’s initial application for judicial review was filed yesterday.

PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT TD Paul Murphy has launched High Court proceedings against a decision last year by the ethics watchdog not to investigate the Taoiseach.

Papers filed in the civil court yesterday show that Murphy initiated a legal action against the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) and the Attorney General.

The Dublin South-West TD complained in November 2020 that Leo Varadkar sent a copy of an agreement between the Government and the Irish Medical Organisation to his then friend Maitiú Ó Tuathail, who was at the time the head of a rival GP group.

However, Sipo decided in November last year that Varadkar had been “cleared of any criminal wrongdoing and breaches of ethics” following a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions not to press charges against him.

The watchdog said at the time that it did not have the remit to consider “either the lawfulness of the action or the extent of the powers of the office of Taoiseach”.

Varadkar, who denied criminal or ethical wrongdoing, previously described the allegations over the leak as “false” and “politically motivated”.

Murphy is now seeking to quash Sipo’s decision, alleging that it was determined in a manner which breached his “right to fair procedures and natural and constitutional justice”.

He also claims that Sipo was mistaken because it failed to hold an oral hearing before making a decision on whether it had the remit to investigate Varadkar.  

Murphy is represented by Prospect Law solicitors, and the case was initially heard in the High Court yesterday.

A judge deemed that the application for a judicial review had been brought within a three-month time limit after Sipo’s decision, during which Murphy had to take the case.

The case is listed for hearing again on 17 April.