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Irish Parliament retained its trust in Leo Varadkar; Tánaiste wins no-confidence motion by 92 votes to 65

DUBLIN: The Dáil rejected the no-confidence motion brought by the opposition against Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, who had been caught up in last week’s document leak controversy. Varadkar won the no-confidence motion by a margin of 92 votes to 65.

Sinn Féin brought a no-confidence motion against Leo Varadkar following serious allegations that he had leaked official secrets in the name of friendship during his tenure as Taoiseach last April. It was alleged that the agreement made by the government with the IMO was handed over to the NAGP president. The Labour also backed the motion. Varadkar had admitted that the leaking of documents was incorrect and had apologised to Dáil and the meeting of the parliamentary leaders of the party.

All government deputies opposed the no-confidence motion. Despite reports of disagreements, the Fianna Fáil TDs have not broken ranks with the Fina Gael leader. At the Fianna Fáil Party meeting last week, there was a difference of opinion against support for Varadkar. The Fina Fall Seniors have raised complaints that the Taoiseach Michael Martin was protecting Varadkar. However, the Taoiseach and his party sided with Varadkar, fearing that it would affect the integrity of the government.

Green Party TDs and ministers, who had strongly criticised the leaking of the document, abandoned the issue with Varadkar’s apology. Varadkar overcame the first non-confidence motion in his political career, as they had faith in the Tánaiste.

In the no-confidence motion debate, Sinn Fin leader Mary Lou McDonald reiterated her strong criticism of Varadkar. Taoiseach Michael Martin strongly defended himself. Varadkar put an end to the controversy and apologised again for his mistakes.

“My motivations were sound, the manner in which I conducted myself was not. I do regret it. And I have learned from it,” he said. “This is the first time that I faced a motion confidence in my career. And it does force you to reflect on the decisions you made, and the things you could have done differently,” he added.

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