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'It's 2017, things are a bit different now': Varadkar defends video on government jet on way to EU Summit

Fianna Fáil leader Michael Martin accused Varadkar of using a government event to publicise the Fine Gael Party.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has defended recording a video on the government jet on his way to the EU Digital Summit.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin accused Varadkar of using a government event to publicise Fine Gael.

The video in question was taken on the government jet on the way to a meeting at the Irish embassy in Tallinn,Estonia.

Martin criticised Varadkar for using “formal European Union business for party political purposes”.

Does the Taoiseach think that this type of party politicisation of a government event is acceptable?

“There is an important distinction between the Taoiseach going to summit meetings on behalf of the people as head of government and not as a mere political party.”

However, Varadkar hit back saying he did not bring a party person and questioned if Martin was referring to the government press secretary, Nick Miller, saying:

“Historically, government press secretaries have travelled with taoisigh ever since they have been appointed.

In terms of my video, it is 2017. People do videos fairly regularly now … It is the equivalent of where in the past, for example, a Taoiseach or Minister attending a summit would issue a press statement.

“Of course, their press officer would type up that press statement and then send it out. Things are a bit different now. One’s press officer may take a video of the Taoiseach and one sends that out on the internet instead. It negates the need to type up a printed statement which is what would have been done in the past.”

However Martin said: “The Taoiseach is missing the point. One does not party politicise government officials. One cannot do that. The practise has been dispensed with.”

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