Murphy – Varadkar’s ‘floated’ anonymous online profile idea sounds like “whimsical remark”

Support: Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Frank McGrath
Support: Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Frank McGrath

MINISTER Eoghan Murphy has said Leo Varadkar‘s idea to use anonymous online profiles during the Fine Gael leadership race sounds like a “whimsical remark” someone might make when ideas are being kicked around.

Mr Murphy, who was Mr Varadkar’s campaign manager, also said: “I don’t think there’s much to it.”

A new book on Mr Varadkar describes how he once proposed setting up fake social media accounts to take part in online discussions.

The revelation landed him in a ‘fake news’ storm, with Fianna Fáil claiming the move could amount to “electoral fraud”.

This evening Mr Muprhy said: “I didn’t see the full story.  I don’t think there’s much to it. It sounds like the kind of whimsical remark that someone might make when you’re kicking around more hare-brained ideas over a coffee.

“Let me tell you there were more crazy ones than that going around as well.”

He did not say what those ideas were.

The Irish Independent reported today that Mr Varadkar said the idea was “not seriously” considered.

He said: “I think the term used in the book is ‘floated’. There was never any serious discussion about it.

“There was never a meeting about it or an agenda item. I don’t even have a particular reflection on it but obviously some TD does,” he said.

Pressed on whether he believed it was an appropriate campaign mechanism, he replied: “It wasn’t done, it wasn’t seriously considered.”

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The claim is made in a new biography – ‘Leo: A Very Modern Taoiseach’ – by Irish Independent deputy political editor Philip Ryan and Government adviser Niall O’Connor.

Detailing behind-the-scenes planning for the Fine Gael leadership contest, the book states: “At one point, Varadkar floated the idea to one TD of creating anonymous accounts to make positive comments under online stories on popular news websites. It’s unclear how far the proposal was pushed.”

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