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Tánaiste says he does not believe criminal charges will be brought against him over GP contract leak

When asked by LMFM if he should step aside if charges were brought against him, Varadkar said: “I don’t contemplate that happening.”

Image: PA

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has said that he doesn’t believe charges will be brought against him over the GP contract leak issue.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment is at the centre of an investigation over whether his leaking of a confidential GP contract to a rival GP group constituted a break of corruption legislation or the Official Secrets Act.

The National Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting a criminal investigation. Varadkar has repeatedly asserted that he has received legal advice that he has committed no offence.

When asked today on LMFM if it was in the national interest that he step aside if charges were brought against him, the Minister said: “I don’t contemplate that happening.”

When asked if, hypothetically, if criminal charges were taken against any member of government, should that person step aside while the process is underway, Varadkar said: 

“I’m not contemplating that. I’ve been trying to avoid creating new stories about this issue. So that’s not something I’m considering. I don’t believe that’s going to happen.”

The Tánaiste has previously told the Dáil that in 2019 he gave a copy of an agreement negotiated between the Government and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) to Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail, then president of the now defunct National Association of General Practioners, a rival GP group.

Varadkar has apologised for his “errors of judgement” in the Dáil in November, but said that suggestions he had a personal gain in leaking the contract were “false and deeply offensive”.

Former Minister for Health Simon Harris is understood to have given a statement to Gardaí during preliminary inquiries about whether an investigation was warranted.

Varadkar said shortly after this that his solicitors had contacted Gardaí and informed that that he was willing to meet with them and cooperate as part of their investigation.

“Gardaí have to do their job and investigate that complaint,” he said. “I would expect nothing else”.

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