Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to reconsider his support for the decision of the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to campaign with Amnesty International Ireland, despite the organisations open declaration that it will not comply with an adverse ruling made against it by the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO):
“Yesterday I challenged the Taoiseach to accept the manifest impropriety of a Minister actively campaigning with an organisation that has illegally accepted financial support for its abortion campaign.
The Taoiseach, as usual, chose to deflect from the issue and completely avoided engaging with the substance of the matter.
I find it absolutely extraordinary, that regardless of the issue, the Taoiseach still sees absolutely no problem with a key minister fully and publicly aligning himself with those who openly flout the law of the land.
We see at the moment how the government is convulsed in allegations that another senior minister allegedly acted improperly when it came to potentially conferring strategic advantage to a private company.
Here however, we have an open and shut case of a national organisation who have not only broken electoral law, with no intention of amending that situation, and yet the Minister for Health is been given free rein to support them in any way possible.
It is as despicable and transparent an application of political double standards as you are likely to see.
If Simon Harris or the Taoiseach had an ounce of genuine respect for our electoral law they would publicly disassociate themselves from Amnesty Ireland.
At present, by endorsing the Minister’s support of Amnesty, the Taoiseach is effectively denigrating the integrity of the Standards in Public Office Commission, and that is dangerous territory for any political leader ,” concluded Deputy McGrath.