#LeoVaradkar legacy in RUINS: 'Posh boy' condemned after huge error of judgment ...

LEO Varadkar's decision to leak a confidential document about GP contracts to a friend has badly damaged his credibility - and the episode has reinforced the perception of the former Irish Taoiseach as a "posh boy" living outside the rules, a former top diplomat has said.

PUBLISHED: 13:36, Wed, Nov 4, 2020 | UPDATED: 13:41, Wed, Nov 4, 2020

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And Ray Bassett, former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas, suggested there was private glee at the Fine Gael leader's plight within the ranks of coalition partner Fianna Fail, at Mr Varadkar getting what they saw as his "comeuppance". Mr Varadkar has been roundly criticised by, among others, Mary Lou McDonald, leader of Sinn Fein, and the Labour Party, led by Alan Kelly, in the wake of the controversy.

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The 41-year-old, who is himself a doctor, last April couriered a draft of a new contract for GPs negotiated between the Government and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) to Maitiu O Tuathail, a friend who was head of a rival group, the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP).

Mr Varadkar has since apologised for "errors of judgment" - but also described suggestions he had benefited personally from his actions as "false and deeply offensive".

Nevertheless, Ray Bassett, Ireland's former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas, said Mr Varadkar could scarcely be surprised by the reaction.

Leo VaradkarThe episode will reinforce perceptions of Leo Varadkar as a "posh boy", said Ray Bassett (Image: GETTY)

Micheal MartinMicheal Martin, Ireland's Taoiseach (Image: GETTY)

Leo made a serious error of judgment and would have had to go if he was an ordinary Minister

Ray Bassett

Mr Bassett told Express.co.uk: "There is no doubt that Leo Varadkar has been personally damaged by this story.

"He has been unrelenting in punishing others for mistakes such as Phil Hogan, and former Ministers Barry Cowen and Dara Calleary.

"Leo made a serious error of judgment and would have had to go if he was an ordinary Minister."

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Simon CoveneySimon Coveney, Ireland's Foreign Minister (Image: GETTY)

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