Serious questions for Tánaiste to answer in Dáil

31 October 2020
  • Then Taoiseach provided confidential document to NAGP despite neither having a formal role in agreement.
  • Special access to privileged information granted to friend of the Fine Gael Leader.
  • IMO GP members did not approve agreement until 22nd May – NAGP had no role in acceptance of agreement
  • Tánaiste cannot be involved in public sector pay talks going forward.

Responding to the statement this afternoon from the Tánaiste in response to an article in Village magazine, Labour Enterprise spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said:

“The Tánaiste must commit to answering questions in the Dáil on Tuesday. His carefully worded statement is padded out with information that is not related to the matter at hand. There are serious issues that he must address. Why was he meddling in a process by providing a confidential document to a competitor body that had no role in approving the GP agreement? The Tánaiste said in his statement this was not best practise and informal but it is clear it was leaked in a clandestine, improper and unethical way.

“The Tánaiste in his own words confirmed that when he was Taoiseach he personally gave a confidential document on a contractual agreement to a competitor body of the IMO. The IMO was the recognised body for negotiating with the State on behalf of GPs. It is affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. The NAGP had no role in the negotiations or in voting to accept the agreement despite the attempt by the Tánaiste to imply that providing the document was an effort to build acceptance of the deal. The Taoiseach was not responsible for this deal, his Minister for Health was.

“The secret and confidential document leaked by the then Taoiseach had not been finalised nor had it been provided to opposition Health spokespeople as is clear in the Dáil debate that occured in the same week the document was leaked. The IMO did not formally accept the agreement until 22nd May but it is clear from the report in Village Magazine that members of the NAGP felt having the confidential details of the agreement would be of significant benefit for some purpose judging by the excited whatsapp messages of senior members.

“If the NAGP wanted a copy of the document why was it not officially requested from the responsible Minister for Health or the Department. What we now know is that the Taoiseach gave his close friend a secret document. We need to know has this happened before or since? We can’t have special access to the sensitive information about state services and negotiations available only to the friends of the leader of Fine Gael.

“The Tánaiste must take questions in the Dáil on Tuesday. These are not the standards we expect from officeholders. That is why it is essential that he have no role in talks on public sector pay based on his acknowledged track record of providing a confidential agreement to an outside body.”

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