Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald is seeking an urgent meeting with Taoiseach Micheál Martin regarding her call for Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to be sacked over the leak of a confidential document.

Earlier, she accused Mr Varadkar of an abuse of power when he was taoiseach and said he must resign.

Yesterday, gardaí confirmed an investigation was under way into the circumstances surrounding the disclosure of a confidential government document to a friend of Mr Varadkar almost two years ago.

The Tánaiste told the Dáil he gave a copy of an agreement between the State and the Irish Medical Organisation to Maitiú Ó Túathail, the then president of a rival GP organisation, the National Association of General Practitioners in April 2019.

Mr Varadkar apologised at the time and said he was acting in the interest of having the contract passed and getting buy-in from all GPs.

The Garda investigation will determine the facts surrounding the incident and gather evidence for a file to be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions. 

In a statement, Ms McDonald said the Tánaiste has "only remained in office because Fianna Fáil, the Greens and a number of independents are keeping him there".

She said he gave a "cock and bull" story to the Dáil in November "and has been forced to change his story repeatedly as more and more information has come to light".

Deputy McDonald said the matter is now being investigated, but her party's position remains as it was in November, adding that the "Fine Gael leader needs to go".

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Last month, Mr Varadkar said he had made contact with gardaí through his solicitors following a complaint made against him for the leaking of the document.

He said at that time that the "facts are no different to those set out by me in the Dáil last November.

"My legal advice is that I have committed no offence. I look forward to the matter being concluded."

Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc MacSharry has said he believes that Mr Varadkar should stand aside, temporarily, pending the outcome of the Garda investigation into the leaking.

He contended that the Tánaiste "knows what needs to be done" because "different standards" cannot apply to those who hold high office.

Deputy MacSharry said that he "very much hoped" the move would be for a very short duration, due to Minister Varadkar's knowledge and familiarity with his brief, which was needed at this exceptional time.

However he said it is "obvious" what the Tánaiste needs to do. The TD's position is at variance with the Fianna Fáil party.

However, Ógra Fianna Fáil has called on Mr Varadkar to stand aside temporarily until the Garda investigation into his leaking of the confidential pay agreement is concluded.

Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers confirmed this afternoon that he has received a letter from his party's youth wing. 

President Tom Cahill said on the Ógra Fianna Fáil Facebook page that it is appropriate that senior members of Government, who are the subject of a Garda investigation, would temporarily stand aside pending the outcome of that investigation.

He added: "In November this issue quickly became a political football, with the opposition tabling a motion of no confidence in the Tánaiste. Given the severity of Covid, and the many other priority issues facing the government and this country, we cannot allow this issue once again be the focus."

A Fianna Fáil spokesperson has disagreed with the call from Ógra Fianna Fáil, saying the Tánaiste is "entitled to due process" and has already said that he will make a statement to gardaí who are investigating the leak of a confidential pay agreement.

The spokesperson added that Ógra Fianna Fáil is "an autonomous group within the party and are entitled to have their own views".

They concluded: "... it would be inappropriate to comment any further when a Garda investigation is ongoing".

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Green Party said it acknowledges the account and apology given by Mr Varadkar in the Dáil last November and has confidence in him.

Fine Gael has said the legal advice to the Tánaiste is that "he has committed no offence" and it "won't take lectures from Sinn Féin".

Minister of State Peter Burke accused the party of being "happy to bypass political funding laws in the Republic of Ireland, in order to avail of a €4 million donation from an English businessman".