In a statement published on the Aontu website, Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín said “No other Minister in Government would be allowed to remain in office while there is an ongoing Criminal Garda Investigation to actions carried out by that Minister.

Peadar Tóibín continued “How can any Minister seriously expect to be allowed to remain in their role, whilst they are under Garda investigation for alleged criminality? We have seen two Ministers for Agriculture in this government sacked where there is no crime involved but the Tánaiste carries on as if a criminal investigation that will be handed on to the DPP with a recommendation is a trivial thing”.

“One Fine Gael Minister even had the temerity to defend – on the national broadcaster – these alleged criminal actions, as being in the public interest. If Leo Varadkar was a FF Minister, and not the Leader of FG, he would be out on his ear (courtesy of FG). Whilst the country is crippled economically through the longest lockdown in Europe, the vaccine roll-out is floundering, Varadkar has the government working as his own defence team.”

“The statements by Leo Varadkar in the Dáil were disingenuous and deceitful. Internal correspondence within the HSE contradicts his defence of his actions. The Garda scoping exercise has now been upgraded to a formal criminal investigation. Initially, the Gardaí were just trying to determine whether an offence had been committed by the then-Taoiseach. Now it’s a full-blown criminal investigation being carried out by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, with a file and a recommendation whether to prosecute to go to the Director of Public Prosecutions within the coming months. How can Leo Varadkar continue in his role as Deputy Head of the Government whilst the NCBI and DPP have a file for potential prosecution on him?

While not condoning the actions of Barry Cowan, Dara Calleary, Phil Hogan, Jerry Buttimer and Phill Hogan have all resigned during the life of this government over what many would consider less. Failure for Varadkar to step aside, shows that he operates by different rules”.

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