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Co-leader of the Social Democrats, Róisín Shortall TD, today called on the Taoiseach to undertake an immediate review of the code of conduct for office holders in the wake of the Tánaiste’s admission that he leaked a confidential agreement between the Government and the IMO in 2019.

Deputy Shortall said:

“This episode has been very damaging to public trust in politics and the Taoiseach must now take steps to restore that trust. I have asked him to undertake an immediate review of the code of conduct for office holders in Government. It is not ok for the Tánaiste to personally interpret this code.

“The code of conduct applied to a Taoiseach says that office holders should respect confidences entrusted to them in the course of their official duties. Quite patently, it is clear that the Tánaiste, when he was Taoiseach, did not do that.

“We had the spectacle of a senior member of the Government exposed for engaging in what can only be described as grubby activity for grubby purposes. It is now clear that the Tánaiste leaked a confidential document to a rival union while negotiations between the Government and IMO were still in process.

“The Tánaiste described it as an error of judgement but what he did was clearly wrong and the Taoiseach needs to ask him to admit that publicly.

“The Taoiseach has a responsibility to restore some element of trust in Government negotiations. Over the course of the coming months and years, unions, employers and social partners are going to be asked to engage with the Government in negotiations. If they are to have trust in their future dealings with the Government, the Taoiseach needs to act now by carrying out a review of the code of conduct for office holders.

“The past few days have been damaging to the Government and, by extension, have also been damaging to politics.”

November 4, 2020

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