Mattie McGrath calls for Leo Varadkar to step aside due to criminal investigation – – Our News, Your Views

Mattie McGrath calls for Leo Varadkar to step aside due to criminal investigation

The fact that the Tánaiste remains in office today is deplorable, unacceptable and arrogant

The Leader of the Rural Independent Group in the Dail, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath, has today (Monday 15th March) called on the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar TD to formally step aside without prejudice, from his role as Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, pending the outcome of the formal and extremely serious garda investigation into his activities surrounding the leaking of a sensitive government document.

The Tipperary TD today stated:

“The confirmation by an garda siochanna that the improper leaking of a confidential contractual government document, by then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, to a friend, has been turned into a criminal probe, represents an extremely serious development. The Tanaiste’s continued membership of government is untenable and would set a very negative and dangerous precedent if it is not addressed.”

“If this situation occurred in any other country, then the Minister concerned would have already resigned. If it occurred on the board of a corporate entity in Ireland – then the member would have already resigned or stepped aside also.”

“The significant move by the gardai illustrates that there exists sufficient evidence to warrant a full-scale investigation and illuminates the seriousness of this entire matter.”

“The Gardai must now be allowed to do their job without interference or commentary by government ministers. This is crucial in order to protect the objectivity of the investigative process which will culminate in a file being sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

“Over the weekend, a number of senior government ministers, publicly commented on the case, which in and of itself was completely inappropriate and could be viewed as undermining the entire impartiality of this investigation.”

“Astonishingly, the incoming temporary Justice Minister Heather Humphreys, yesterday claimed on national television, that the leaking of the confidential document was in the “public interest”. These were utterly reprehensible comments from the Minister. In fact, such comments aim to completely discredit the work of an garda siochanna and represents a form of blatant public interference in a live criminal investigation into her party leader. Such interferences are intolerable.”

“The gravity of this situation must not be underestimated. This is especially pertinent given that the investigation will likely focus on whether criminal offences were committed under the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018.”

“Therefore, in order to ensure the independence of this entire process, and to diminish government or ministerial interference into this investigation, it is absolutely essential that the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, pending the outcome of this investigation, steps down.”

“Failure by the Tánaiste to step aside, will mean that the Taoiseach must intervene. Thus, I am calling on the Taoiseach to step up and demonstrate decisive leadership on this issue.”

“The impartiality of this investigation and the independence of the gardai must be protected. We cannot have a situation continue where ministers pre-determine the outcome of a criminal investigation – simply because they sit around cabinet with the person under investigation,” concluded Deputy Mc Grath.

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