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Ireland Allegations must be taken seriously, but we can't assume they're true - Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

16:26  07 november  2017
16:26  07 november  2017 Source:   independent.ie

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Leo Eric Varadkar (/vəˈrædkər/; born 18 January 1979) is an Irish politician who has served as Taoiseach , Minister for Defence and Leader of Fine Gael since June 2017.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins © Provided by Irish Independent Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has stressed that bullying and harassment cannot be tolerated in the arts world, but urged caution saying such allegations need to be investigated fully.

Mr Varadkar was speaking in relation to the allegations levied at former artistic director of the Gate Theatre Michael Colgan.

Several women, including former employees at the Gate Theatre, have made claims against Mr Colgan ranging from verbal harassment to inappropriate behaviour.

Theatre director and arts practitioner Grace Dyas was the first woman to speak out.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has discussed how he and his government intend to tackle the fallout "The sense that I have from people that have been affected by this is they ' re not looking for money left in the past, and perhaps we shouldn' t open this can of worms in many ways, but we 've taken a different

The Irish taoiseach , Leo Varadkar , has raised the prospect of the UK The deadline of course for the withdrawal agreement is October, but if we are not making real and substantial progress by June then we need to seriously question whether we ’ re going to have a withdrawal agreement at all.”

Former director of the Gate Theatre, Michael Colgan © Niall Carson/PA Images Former director of the Gate Theatre, Michael Colgan Mr Colgan is expected to issue a statement regarding the allegations in the coming days.

Mr Varadkar said: "I don't think that anyone can ever tolerate systemic bullying or harassment or physical or sexual assault in any workplace, whether it's the arts, or the Oireachtas or anywhere else."

He added he is "encouraged by the fact that more people are willing to come forward and tell their stories" and as a means of changing "the culture around these issues".

However, he also said: "It's important at the same time that as society we don't enter 'The Crucible' here.

"Allegations are allegations and they should be taken seriously, but we shouldn't always assume they're true and that's why they need to be investigated first."

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has stated that he has never said he agreed with Donald Trump on anything, while adding that he had sympathy for the US president’s willingness to take on his critics.

But Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar , who met with the PM for talks in Sofia yesterday, said the plan will 'require more than just customs' Royal family 'snub' Trump: Prince Charles and Prince William forced the Queen to meet the US president alone after they refused to take part in his four-day-tour of Britain.

He added: "I think we need to bear in mind that all forms of inappropriate behaviour or boorish behaviour or obnoxious behaviour don't necessarily constitute bullying sexual assault."

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Mr Varadkar said that although the Gate Theatre receives substantial public funding it is not a public body and it is a matter for the company itself "to put in place its own procedures to investigate them properly".

The board of the Gate Theatre has hired an external consultancy company, Reputation Inc, to field queries regarding the harassment controversy.

The board has held several emergency meetings in recent days to discuss the allegations. Reputation Inc says the board will issue a statement shortly.

Gate Theatre Gate Theatre Speaking on RTÉ's 'Claire Byrne Live' last night, Ms Dyas said Mr Colgan had "too much power".

"He wasn't accountable to anybody in that structure, he wasn't accountable to the Arts Council, he wasn't accountable to the Government, he wasn't accountable to his own board - he sat on his own board.

"He could literally do what he liked and nobody had any recourse," she said.

Arts Council director Orlaith McBride said she believed staff at the Gate were living in a "culture of fear".

Ms McBride stressed that this culture of fear is not confined to the Gate and can be found "across the sector".

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