Monday 18 December 2017

Varadkar says colleague did nothing wrong

Sarah Collins in Brussels

TRANSPORT Minister Leo Varadkar has pleaded for clemency for his Fine Gael colleague Dr James Reilly, who has been named on a debt defaulters' list for failing to pay €1.9m.

Mr Varadkar said Dr Reilly, who is Minister for Health and deputy leader of the party, had done nothing wrong and should get a fair hearing from TDs.

"What it seems to me is that he was a minority investor in a nursing home and the investment didn't succeed and he lost money on it -- and that's not all that unusual," Mr Varadkar said.

Speaking in Brussels, where he was attending a Tourism Ireland event, he said: "I can't see he's done anything wrong. An unsuccessful investment doesn't make you a wrongdoer."

Dr Reilly was listed as a defaulter this week in the business journal 'Stubbs Gazette' for failing to compensate several investors in a private nursing home in Co Tipperary.

Mr Varadkar said there was nothing untoward in a health minister having an interest in a private nursing home and insisted that Dr Reilly had handed the running of the investment over to a solicitor before taking office last year.

"Say you're minister for agriculture, should you have to sell your farm?" he asked.

Irish Independent

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