Monday 20 May 2019

Varadkar: Idea of anonymous online profiles was 'floated', but not seriously


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Getty Images
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Getty Images
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has admitted the idea of using anonymous online profiles to praise Fine Gael's work was floated - but said it was never seriously considered.

A new book on the Fine Gael leader describes how he once proposed setting up fake social media accounts to take part in online discussions.

The revelation has landed him in a 'fake news' storm, with Fianna Fáil claiming the move could amount to "electoral fraud".

However, Mr Varadkar has now told the Irish Independent that the idea was "not seriously" considered.

"I think the term used in the book is 'floated'. There was never any serious discussion about it. There was never a meeting about it or an agenda item. I don't even have a particular reflection on it but obviously some TD does," he said.

Pressed on whether he believed it was an appropriate campaign mechanism, he replied: "It wasn't done, it wasn't seriously considered."

The claim is made in a new biography - 'Leo: A Very Modern Taoiseach' - by Irish Independent deputy political editor Philip Ryan and Government adviser Niall O'Connor.

Detailing behind-the-scenes planning for the Fine Gael leadership contest, the book states: "At one point, Varadkar floated the idea to one TD of creating anonymous accounts to make positive comments under online stories on popular news websites. It's unclear how far the proposal was pushed."

Irish Independent

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