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Ministers deny meeting Ó Tuathail with Varadkar

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Maitiú Ó Tuathail was given a copy of the new GP contract

Maitiú Ó Tuathail was given a copy of the new GP contract

Maitiú Ó Tuathail was given a copy of the new GP contract

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Higher Education Minister Simon Harris have rejected claims they met Maitiú Ó Tuathail last year with then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

The claims were published by Village magazine last night.

Tánaiste Mr Varadkar responded to the magazine article via a spokesperson, saying: "Many of these encounters simply did not happen."

Mr Varadkar is facing a Dáil motion of no confidence over his leaking of the pay deal struck with the Irish Medical Organisation to Dr Ó Tuathail, who was then president of the rival National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP).

Sinn Féin tabled the motion which will be debated in the Dáil today.

Mr Varadkar has insisted the GP contract was essentially completed when he shared it with Dr Ó Tuathail, and says his motivation in giving him the document was to encourage NAGP members to sign the deal.

Friend

He also said in the Dáil last week: "We are not close friends. Dr Ó Tuathail is the kind of friend I would meet two or three times a year."

Village last night published WhatsApp messages between Dr Ó Tuathail and businessman Chay Bowes which it claims suggests Mr Varadkar met Dr Ó Tuathail more than two or three times over the course of about a year. Mr Bowes was trying to get a venture called Community Hospital Ireland off the ground at the time.

The magazine says Dr Ó Tuathail sent two messages about meeting Mr Donohoe. One, on June 30, 2019, says: "Heading for lunch with Leo and Paschal now." In another, dated February 5, 2019, Dr Ó Tuathail claimed he met Mr Varadkar and then Health Minister Simon Harris after the Ireland-England rugby match in Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

A spokesperson for Mr Donohoe said: "Minister Donohoe can confirm that neither of these alleged meetings took place." Mr Harris's spokesperson said the alleged meeting he was said to be involved in also did not happen.


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