KCLR NewsNews & Sport

“A political storm in a teacup” is how FG’s Carlow Kilkenny TD sums up the claims of the Tánaiste & the “leaking” of a confidential GP contract document

John Paul Phelan's comments come as Leo Varadkar faces into Dáil questioning today

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar will address the Dáil later about the leaking of a confidential GP contract document.

Minister Varadkar has come under intense criticism for sharing the IMO contract with a friend of his in a rival GP union.

Known as the Teflon Tánaiste by some in government circles this is the first time he’s come under intense personal scrutiny since this new government was formed.

Minister Varadkar criticised the claims made in Village Magazine at the weekend, describing some of them as defamatory, but admitted he did share a confidential Irish Medical Organisation contract with a friend of his in a rival GP union, the now-defunct NAGP.

The Tánaiste though claims it wasn’t confidential, as its contents were in the public domain by that stage.

That’s contested by opposition parties who say it was not widely available, and the contract could have given financial advantage to the NAGP.

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin has rejected that and backed Varadkar, saying he broke no laws.

But the Green Party have been more critical and will be listening closely to both his Dáil statement and what the Tánaiste says to his cabinet colleagues this morning.

Not only does Leo Varadkar have to convince the public that this isn’t a resigning matter, he’ll have to convince his government party colleagues too.

Local Fianna Fail Deputy John McGuinness says Leo Varadkar has to explain why he said the original article breaking the story in the Village Magazine was defamatory noting “He did make a very strong statement in that he said it was defamatory what was written & that’s a very strong statement to make and that is something he will also have to answer, why does he think that that is the case and what parts of it were wrong in terms of the reporting of it and we don’t kiow the answers to that as of yet so he does face a couple of difficult days”.

While Fine Gael’s Carlow Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan’s been telling KCLR News “It’s an unusual one in that I’ve never heard of a politician being accused of leaking something before that was already largely, if not completely, in the public domain, the incident in question relates to the GP contract, there are two groups that mostly represent GPs, after the conclusion of the negotiations with the IMO this document was then shared with the other representative group which would have a lot of overlap membership with the two organisations, it looks to be a political storm in a teacup really”.

When asked if he had confidence in his party leader, Deputy Phelan had a one word reply of “Absolutely”.