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Leo Varadkar helps with coronavirus testing on Traveller accommodation site

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar helped with coronavirus testing at a Traveller accommodation site
Photo: Eddie Hoare

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar helped with coronavirus testing at a Traveller accommodation site Photo: Eddie Hoare

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar helped with coronavirus testing at a Traveller accommodation site Photo: Eddie Hoare

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar donned medical scrubs and a face mask to help out with Covid-19 testing at a Traveller accommodation site in his constituency.

Mr Varadkar, a qualified doctor who recently re-registered to help out with the response to the spread of the virus, was on site at Morgan’s Place in Blanchardstown, a Traveller specific accommodation site, on Monday where testing was being carried out.

It is unclear if Mr Varadkar himself was carrying out the swab tests of residents.

Blanchardstown Traveller Development Group posted pictures on its Facebook group of Mr Varadkar wearing a scrub top and a face mask alongside locals on Monday evening. The group said that the testing was a precautionary measure after two recently confirmed cases of the disease in the community. Both patients are said to be recovery well.

Mr Varadkar re-registered as a doctor earlier this month to aid efforts to tackle the spread of coronavirus - a move which attracted worldwide publicity. He said his return to working as a doctor is a "gesture of support" for the health service and there "won't be any photo ops".

His spokesman confirmed the pictures were genuine.

"The Taoiseach continues to do one shift a week as a doctor. As he said, he isn’t providing a running commentary, but does find it a useful way to see how things are on the ground in the health service, and what health service staff are experiencing on a daily basis," he said.

Fine Gael councillor Eddie Hoare, who drew widespread attention to the pictures by posting them on his Twitter on Monday, said: "I felt it captured the mood quite well in terms of the solidarity amongst all communities and that's what I would see it as rather than PR stunt."

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After re-registering at the start of April, Mr Varadkar offered his services to the HSE for one session a week and said he was participating in telephone clinics for half a day.

"There won't be any photo ops or anything like that," he said. "It will just be something I'll be doing quietly once a week for the duration of the emergency." He said last Friday he had so far worked three shifts.

Mr Varadkar studied medicine in Trinity. He worked as a junior doctor in a number of hospitals and qualified as a general practitioner before turning to politics full-time. In the late 2000s.

Both of Mr Varadkar's sisters work as health care professionals and the Taoiseach's partner Matt Barrett is a cardiologist.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland


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