Sunday 25 September 2016

Varadkar: I accept Fennelly findings Taoiseach did not sack Commissioner

Published 10/09/2015 | 13:46

Leo Varadkar Pic Frank Mc Grath
Leo Varadkar Pic Frank Mc Grath

Health Minister Leo Varadkar has said he accepts the Taoiseach did not seek to sack former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

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He said Enda Kenny did his best during the "frenzied time" around the departure of Mr Callinan.

Mr Varadkar said he accepts the verdict of Judge Nial Fennelly.

Responding to suggestions that many people don't believe Mr Kenny's version of events around his involvement in the departure of Mr Callinan, Mr Varadkar said: "People are entitled believe what they want to believe."

He added: "What we had was the Fennelly Commission, a Supreme Court judge, and he is the only person who spoke to all of the people who were there."

"He is the only person who reviewed all of the evidence and his findings are clear. The Taoiseach did not seek to sack the Garda Commissioner and I accept those findings," he said.

Asked could the Taoiseach have handled himself better, Mr Varadkar said: "It was a very frenzied time."

Responding to Fine Gael's recent drop in opinion polls, Mr Varadkar said: "Opinion polls go up and down. Generally speaking we have remained in the high twenties. so four out of five of those who voted for us  last time are still with us. We have a job to do to win back that support."

Asked why Enda Kenny is currently the least popular leader, despite the strong economic recovery, Mr Varadkar said a tough period of office has taken its toll.

"It has been a tough period in office for sure."

But he said different polls had Mr Kenny's personal rating at different levels.

"There are different figures about his personal rating, they are higher in some polls," he added.

Mr Varadkar insisted the General Election "definitely won't be in six weeks time".

Mr Varadkar said he is convinced the election will not take place until 2016, despite continuing speculation of a November election.

Speaking at the opening of the Fine Gael party think-in in Adare, Co Limerick, Mr Varadkar "It definitely won't be six weeks' time, I am fairly certain it will be next year," he said.

"That is the plan, the Government would finish its programme. I don't know, I wish I did know," he added.

He also said a pact with Labour makes sense as the Government has worked well  together.

Reacting to the positive economic growth figures released earlier, Mr Varadkar said the Government must ensure the benefits of the economic growth are shared by all,  accepting that the uplight has not filtered through to many.

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