Please note: This story was edited – unilaterally – at 2.26pm on Wednesday June 18th to reflect the fact that the initial version of it was much too definitive in concluding that Mr. Varadkar had broken the rules, when, in fact, there is some evidence that he did not, and the original story should have noted this fact. We apologise to the Taoiseach, and to our readers, for the error – JMG.
A reader draws our attention, this morning, to the fact that the Office of Public works has confirmed to them that An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, was in residence at Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park from the 30th of March this year.
However, the Taoiseach’s own social media pages seem to make it clear that he was, in several occasions, present in his own home in Castleknock, which is outside the then 2km exercise limit enacted by his Government.
The OPW confirmed that:
The Taoiseach has been in residence in Steward’s Lodge on the Farmleigh Estate from 30 March up to the date of your request, which includes all of the dates between 1 May and 25 May 2020.
The Taoiseach also stayed overnight on the following dates:
20 December 2018
28 December 2018
29 February 2020
On April 4th, Varadkar posted to his social media accounts that he was at home in Castleknock, and “unable to deliver easter eggs to his nephews due to social distancing”:
That same night, he confirmed that the location was castleknock:
At the time he made these statements, he was, according to the OPW, in residence in Farmleigh Lodge.
On March 27th, before he moved into Farmleigh, Varadkar said to the nation:
“I’m appealing to every man, woman and child to make these sacrifices for the love of each other … show that you care for your family and friends: stay home,” said Varadkar.
Specifically, in relation to the issue of travelling to second homes around Easter Time, the public were instructed, by Dr. Holohan:
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan on Monday night said people with second homes should not travel to them for the bank holiday weekend. He also called on the public not to engage in unnecessary travel or leisure activities.
But just three days previously, Mr. Varadkar appears to have travelled, to what was, at that point, his second home.
Shortly thereafter, The Taoiseach himself said:
“People breaking the rules should bear in mind the consequences … it could be having to extend the current lockdown for two to three weeks
“We want to be in a position where we can ease restrictions but that is not going to be possible if the virus begins to reproduce at a faster rate,” he said.
“I would really appeal to people [to obey the restrictions] as the next 11 days are going to be crucial.
But if Mr. Varadkar had travelled to his other residence, then he had, by any objective measure, broken the rules himself.
Update: Or did he? An account purporting to be the Taoiseach’s partner, Dr. Matthew Barrett, responds by suggesting that at least one of the photographs were taken in Farmleigh, and the photos certainly seem convincing.
— Matthew Barrett (@GaothSaileDoc) June 18, 2020