File photo of Leo Varadkar. Photograph:( Reuters )
The outing appeared to contradict advice given in a media briefing last week by Liz Canavan, assistant secretary of the Department of the Taoiseach.
Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar has denied violating any norms regarding coronavirus in his country while having a picnic with his friends.
A spokesperson for Varadkar issued a statement on Monday night saying he ''broke no laws, breached no regulations and observed public health guidance'' while picnicking in the Phoenix Park.
The statement from Varadkar’s office on Monday night said phase one of Ireland’s lifting of lockdown restrictions allowed a group of four people to meet outdoors as long as they were within five kilometres (three miles) of home and maintaining physical distance.
''Government guidelines allow people to spend time in the outdoors within 5km of their home while continuing to observe social distancing and good hygiene. There are no specific government guidelines on eating outdoors or picnics.''
The comment came after images appeared on social media showing the taoiseach with his partner, Matthew Barrett, and two friends near the park’s Wellington monument.
The outing appeared to contradict advice given in a media briefing last week by Liz Canavan, assistant secretary of the Department of the Taoiseach. She said: ''If you’re visiting a public amenity try not to stay too long at the site or have picnics. Please do your exercise and then go home.''
However, the chief medical officer, Tony Holohan, said the images of the picnic appeared to show respect for the rules. “I didn’t see any pictures that are in violation of that involving the Taoiseach.”