Tánaiste Leo Varadkar denied that requests made by his lawyers for updates on the investigation into his leak of a confidential report amounted to pressure on gardaí.
The Fine Gael leader is under investigation by the Garda after leaking a copy of a report on a new GP deal offered to his friend Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail in April 2019.
The document contained details of the agreement the then government had tentatively reached with the Irish Medical Organization (IMO).
Dr Ó Tuathail was at the time president of the now defunct National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP), a rival organization also representing general practitioners.
In 2020, Mr Varadkar apologized for “misjudgments”, but he also said his legal opinion was that he had not committed a criminal offence. He said he did not believe charges would be brought against him.
The Garda investigation lasted several months and the Sunday Independent reported over the weekend that Mr Varadkar’s lawyers had contacted the Gardaí on several occasions for updates.
At a press conference on Monday, Mr Varadkar dismissed a suggestion that it would put pressure on the gardaí.
He said, “It’s not about pressure. It asks for a progress report or update and that’s completely normal and completely expected.
Earlier this month, Mr Varadkar told RTÉ Radio that the document in question was not a contract or a cabinet document subject to confidentiality.
He said: “These are false allegations. These are allegations made by political opponents who are a bit obsessed with me, despise my party, and are increasingly outspoken supporters of another party.
‘When I heard from the media around this time last year that this investigation was ongoing, I had hoped it would be concluded quickly – it was not.
“It’s not something that’s under my control. I cooperated fully.
Mr Varadkar said he was interviewed last April and ‘answered all questions, provided documents, provided devices’ and added: ‘I haven’t heard from since.
“I have no control over the pace of this investigation.”