Le cúplá lá anuas, tá admhaithe ag an Tánaiste gur thug sé cáipéis rúnda dá chara ina raibh 130 leathanach agus achan cheann dóibh marcáilte mar rúnda agus nach raibh cead ann é a thabhairt d'aon duine. Tá a fhios againn, agus ag madraí an bhaile, anois go raibh an rud a rinne an Tánaiste contráilte ach tá níos mó eolais de dhíth orainn faoi seo. This week, the Tánaiste admitted to leaking a confidential document, marked "Not for circulation", to a friend of his. The Tánaiste admitted that he was wrong to do so. The Tánaiste's rationale for doing so was debunked here in the House on Tuesday night and there are a number of issues I want to return to because the Tánaiste has not provided clarity on all the matters surrounding this.
I have looked through both documents and I have found that there are at least 35 changes between the one that the Tánaiste provided to his friend, the president of the National Association of General Practitioners, NAGP, and the one that was subsequently published by the Department of Health. The reality is that discussions were still live and ongoing and that this part of the Tánaiste's argument simply does not stake up to scrutiny. Every one of the 130 pages of the agreement that the Tánaiste gave to his friend was marked "Confidential: Not for circulation". It had that stamp on every single page. Can the Tánaiste explain why there was another document attached to the one he provided to the president of the NAGP? I refer to a six-page document that is not marked "Confidential: Not for circulation". Each page of this document is marked "Working draft: Confidential".
It was widely reported last night that the Tánaiste told those present at a meeting of his parliamentary party that they should be careful with the friends they choose. That does not sound like the words of someone who is sorry for his actions. That sounds like the words of someone who is annoyed that he got caught. Is that not the reality? Instead of accepting responsibility for his actions, the Tánaiste threw Dr. Maitiú Ó Tuathail under the bus and then decided to reverse over him. I want to put on the record that Dr. Ó Tuathail is not to blame here. Dr. Ó Tuathail was within his rights, as president of the NAGP, to seek out this document, either from the then Minister for Health or from the then Taoiseach. He was acting in the interests of his members as he saw it and he was perfectly entitled to ask the Tánaiste for this document. The wrongdoing here is that the Tánaiste was not entitled to provide this document, or indeed the other document marked "Confidential", to the president of the NAGP, a friend of the Tánaiste. It was the Tánaiste who made that decision.
Will the Tánaiste answer me this? On Tuesday, he told this House that he spoke to Dr. Ó Tuathail in recent days to try and verify when the Tánaiste sent the document to him because, as the Tánaiste said to the House on Tuesday, "I did not have that WhatsApp message any more and I wanted to check the exact date on which I sent the document." Can the Tánaiste explain what he means by this? Has the Tánaiste deleted these messages? Has he deleted these communications from his phone? I am sure the Tánaiste will be aware that these contacts fall under the scope of the Freedom of Information Act if, as he claims, this document or these documents were provided to Dr. Ó Tuathail as part of an agreed strategy or in the Tánaiste's then capacity as Taoiseach. Did the Tánaiste delete official records of this exchange?