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'Leak' row Leo Varadkar warns TDs to be careful who they chose as friends

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Tanaiste Leo Varadkar TD during a Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar TD during a Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar TD during a Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has warned his parliamentary colleagues to be careful who they choose as friends amid the controversy over his decision to leak an unpublished GP contract.

Speaking at a parliamentary party meeting, the Fine Gael leader thanked TDs and senators who defended him after it emerged he leaked a confidential document to his GP friend Dr Maitiu O Tuathail.

Mr Varadkar told the meeting they should be careful who they choose as friends given the controversy sparked by his friendship with Dr O Tuathail.

A Fine Gael source said the Tánaiste “didn’t even say sorry” for the on going debacle over the leaked document.

“He just thanked people for doing media interviews for him and said be careful with the friends you choose,” the source added.

The Tánaiste’s comments were confirmed by a number of sources at the meeting.

Another source said there was little discussion about the controversy at the meeting. However, Kildare North TD Bernard Durkan did praise Mr Varadkar’s performance.

During a two hour Dáil grilling, the Tanaiste accused Mr O Tuahtail of “over egging” their friendship and dismissed suggestions the GP had special access to him.

He described Mr Tuathail as “a friend but not a close friend” and said he made “out to various people that he was closer to me than he was”

“That is a big part of what this is about. I am not trying to make out that I am some sort of victim. That is simply the fact,” he added.

Mr Varadkar’s comment came as new text messages from Mr O Tuathail were read into the Dáil record. In one message the GP said: “Leo constantly pulling strings for me - you’ve no idea” before adding that he did not want to “f**k that up”.

In another exchange, Mr Varadkar told Mr O Tuathail there may be “some changes” made to the leaked GP contract “so don’t take it as gospel”

The Tánaiste dismissed the messages but did reveal he spoke to O Tuathail on three occasions since details of their texts first emerged in the Village Magazine.

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