And Ray Bassett has told Ireland’s former Taoiseach and now Tanaiste or Deputy Prime Minister that his fate is now in the hands of the Gardai or the police who opened a criminal investigation into the matter yesterday. Fine Gael’s 42-year-old chairman, Mr. Varadkar, is under tremendous pressure due to his admission. In April 2019, he sent his friend, Dr. Maitiu O Tuathail, a copy of a medical agreement between the state and the Irish Medical Organization (IMO) while he was still serving as Ireland’s leader.
Confirmation of the police investigation led Mary Lou McDonald, the leader of Sinn Fein, to demand his resignation, stating, “This was simply a political stroke.
“It was an abuse of power by the then Taoiseach to give a friend an advantage.”
Mr. Varadkar – himself a qualified doctor – continues to deny breaking the law while apologizing and admitting that his actions were “not best practice” – but Mr. Bassett, Ireland’s former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas, suggested that the pressure could ultimately be unsustainable.
He said Express.co.uk: “This controversy has undoubtedly seriously damaged the Leo Varadkar brand.
“His Fine Gael party has always prided itself on being different and more modern than what they claimed was the venalere Fianna Fail.
“Leo has also portrayed himself as a representative of a new progressive Ireland and is very different from the old cozy inside politics.”
ONLY IN: “Shame”: EU boss Michel devastated because of British vaccine
Mr. Bassett warned: “If he is charged, particularly with corruption in public office, I believe he should resign.
“There is a warning here for all politicians who, for selfish reasons, do solo runs and lose documents.”
Mr Varadkar’s position has wider implications, said Mr Bassett, as he has continued to be well known since he was replaced as Taoiseach by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin last year.
He stated: “Leo is by far the most capable and popular of the leading figures in his party.
“Simon Coveney may covet Leo’s position as leader, but Coveney lacks charisma and is seen as boring.
“Therefore, Leo’s party (Fine Gael) will desperately hope that somehow he will be exonerated.
“However, Leo’s fate is based on the outcome of the police investigation.”
In November Varadkar, speaking to Ireland’s main legislator, Dail, insisted: “There was nothing selfish, corrupt, dishonest or illegal about what I did.”
He also described as “false and unfounded and deeply offensive” suggestions that he could personally gain by disclosing the document.
He then survived a vote of no confidence – but the affair has resulted in him being nicknamed Leo the Leak in media circles.
Express.co.uk contacted Mr Varadkar and given him the opportunity to comment on Mr Bassett’s remarks.