Tánaiste Leo Varadkar shouldn’t resign over the leaking of a confidential GP document as he deserves due process like any other citizen, said Minister Simon Harris.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar shouldnt resign over the leaking of a confidential GP document as he deserves due process like any other citizen, said Minister Simon Harris.
It comes as Garda Headquarters recently upgraded its inquiries into his leaking of the document into a criminal investigation.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has called for the Tánaiste to resign and said he had given a cock and bull story over the leaking of the document.
Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said the Opposition have a job to do but that he does not believe Mr Varadkar should resign, as he deserves due process and the Government has a job to do in running the country.
Appearing on Virgin Medias The Tonight Show, Mr Harris said: I think it would not be helpful for anyone, particularly those of us in public office, to run an ongoing commentary on an ongoing garda investigation.
The gardaí have a job to do, they have received a complaint. They need to be allowed to carry out that investigation without any interference or commentary from politicians like myself.
“We also have to recognise the importance of due process, there are a lot of people who rush to judgment and the right place for these issues to be examined is through the garda investigation, and let us see the outcome of that.
When asked if he thinks the Tánaiste should step aside for the time being, the Higher Education Minister said he believes this would be the opposite of the meaning of due process.
I think that wouldnt be due process. I dont believe (he should step aside).
“Government has a huge body of work to do and we need to get through the Covid pandemic, reopen the country and the Tánaiste is heavily engaged in all of those issues and led our country through the first phase of the pandemic and now plays a leadership role in government again.
Everybody is entitled to due process, you don’t give up that right to due process when you run for elected office.
Mr Harris said he does not believe the controversy is distracting from the work of the Government.
“The Opposition has a job to do and I’m sure people expect me to come out here and score political points and Im not interested in doing that, he added.
The Opposition has a job to do and they do their thing. We have a job to do in running the country and we are focused on that.
Gardaí are probing the complaint which centres on Mr Varadkars leaking of a copy of the Governments proposed new GP contract with the Irish Medical Organisation to Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail, who was then the head of the rival National Association of General Practitioners, in April 2019.
Mr Varadkar has apologised over the affair and has said his legal advice is that he committed no offence and he has offered to meet gardaí to provide a full statement.