Varadkar says colleague did nothing wrong
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.