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Tanaiste Leo Varadkar health document leak investigation upgraded to criminal probe by gardai

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, health document leak investigation, upgraded to a gardai criminal probe.

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GARDAI have upgraded their investigation into leaking a confidential Government document by Leo Varadkar into a criminal probe.

Last year, it was revealed that the then Taoiseach had provided a draft report of a confidential pay deal agreement with the Irish Medical Organisation to a rival group of medics.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar health document leak investigation upgraded to criminal probe by gardai
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar
PA: Press Association

In 2019, the Irish Medical Organisation negotiated a new contract for GPs with the Government.

At the beginning of April, before the final €210million deal was officially published for the public, the Tanaiste – then Taoiseach – sent a copy of the new contract to the IMO president’s rival organization, the NAGP, Dr. Maitiu O’Tuathail.

PROBE UPGRADED

Sinn Fein tabled a motion of no confidence against the Tanaiste in November when the leak emerged.

Last November, an under-fire Varadkar told the Dail that he posted the document to him because he wanted the NAGP to get behind the Government’s new GP deal and promote it.

Varadkar apologized for the incident but insisted he had “committed no offense” and offered to speak with gardai.

According to The Times Ireland, the garda investigation has been upgraded to a criminal probe.

OFFICIAL WITNESS

The decision to upgrade the investigation has been made following a statement from a senior official at the Department of Health to the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

According to the paper, the statement contained details on the official status of the document leaked by Varadkar.

The official is believed to be being treated as a witness by gardai.

Last month, Varadkar said that gardai had not returned to him yet after he offered to speak to them.

He also told RTE’s Prime Time that while he has committed no offense, he “of course” accepts that he made a mistake.

‘NO OFFENCE’

Asked on Prime Time if he has already spoken to the Gardai, the Tanaiste replied: “I haven’t. I know that a complaint was made against me back in November. That was well-publicized at the time.

“And the Gardai haven’t asked to speak to me about it, but through my solicitors, I have contacted them and said that I’m willing to be interviewed or willing to give a statement.

“I have committed no offense. My legal team is adamant that I haven’t.

“But obviously, I’m willing to speak to them and make a statement if they wish.”

When questioned if the Gardai had gotten back to the Tanaiste, he responded: “Not yet.”

Asked if he accepts that it was a mistake to send the report to O’Tuathail, he said: “Of course, I do. I said that in the Dail, and I apologized for it at the time.

“None of the facts have changed since then.”