Tag Archives: Leo Varadkar

From top: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Galway City Councillor Owen Hanley

This month Taoiseach Leo Varadkar unveiled a climate action plan nobody really believes in to do something that he never seemed to care about to appeal to voters who never elected him as Taoiseach.

It’s an odd intersection of politics where the news cycle is mostly going through the motions. That said there are some really good things in the Climate Action plan including the incorporation of climate duties under the role of Taoiseach as well as having a more rigorous review process of the government’s track record on climate and biodiversity action.

But in the end it felt like another peg in a premiership that hasn’t really done anything meaningful.

That’s not to fall into a political trap of criticising every aspect of Varadkar for the sake of it. The current minority government situation is stretched to a limit. And I even met him once and annoyingly he was likeable.

But I don’t understand him. Or why he does what he does other than that he’s doing it.

If I genuinely ask myself why is Leo Varadkar Taoiseach I have no answer.

Like too many in politics he was planning for the next job.He was a Councillor so he could be a TD. A TD so he could be Minister. A Minister so he could be Taoiseach. But now that he’s arrived here, what’s it for?

And specifically I’m talking about the role of Taoiseach.

I can understand why someone would want to be TD or Minister. Step up and take the extra influence for your area and get paid a bit better, even if it means more scrutiny and less family time.

But to want to be Taoiseach should surely offer such unifying personal reasoning that it’s obvious to everyone who sees them in action. Why else go through all the scheming and negotiating and double-speak required?

For the past two years Leo Varadkar has been primarily defending himself against charges by Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin that he’s all spin, no substance.

That criticism bothers me for three reasons. One is the fact that Martin’s substance is a decade of Fianna Fáil blunders that lead to a decade of recession and austerity.

Two, the hypocrisy of using a test-group focused line to death to criticise marketing spin is neverending.

And three, it let’s Leo Varadkar away from the main criticism the opposition leader should ask. Why you?

Why when homelessness soars to the highest in our nation’s history should you lead us?

What does your brief tenure as Minister for Health say about your vision for healthcare?

What are the new ideas and ambitious qualities you bring the highest role of governance in the land?

It wasn’t really a question the Fine Gael parliamentary party asked either when they ignored their own members and choose him as Taoiseach.

It’s undeniable that electoral success was their primary concern, and as they should have the right to as any party.

But now that success seems less plentiful we’re left to wonder did they ask themselves who is the Taoiseach they choose for us?

A directionless Taoiseach creates a directionless party. Hence, why Fine Gael probably got hit hard in some spots during the Local Election. In contrast the Social Democrats’ focus on quality of life and the Green Party’s message on climate action resonated with people.

Enda Kenny was elected during an unquantifiable crisis. He ran and was elected to be a prudent overseer. The ultimate civil servant. You can argue the merits of that.

But we don’t need a civil servant to lead the country today. The housing and homelessness crisis requires massive state intervention. Healthcare needs to see radical transformations to transition to a single-tier Slaintecare system.

Transport demands bravery as we see a modal shift that compliments our higher density living and supports rural Ireland.

Ultimately, all this leads to the thought that Varakdar is just another man who at 18 decided he deserved to be Taoiseach and did everything to achieve that without asking why.

What was he trying to fix? What problems in the world bothered him the most? Why is it he should lead the country?

As I’ve tried to stress I’m not going intentionally force false narratives about greed or ego. But neither do I think we should allow basic ideas of doing a better job or it has to be someone so why not me be good enough.

He’s neither incompetent nor the Taoiseach we need.

It’s a hard job, you get criticised all day, and you sacrifice a lot to do it. I’m sure he has good intentions and is trying his best.

But why? Where is it going?

And in the end what kind of Ireland will he leave behind?

Owen Hanley is a Councillor on Galway City Council for the Social Democrats and has a background in human rights law


This morning.

Bebe writes:

Thousands don’t know where they’re going to sleep at night or where their next meal will come from; thousands more on zero hours contracts – what would Leo know about those living on the margins due to neglect by his government since 2011?

He tried to say they were fraudulently claiming benefits ’til that nugget backfired. HSE dealing with crisis after crisis in life and death scenarios where front line staff bear the brunt while executives make the decisions much like executive FG that continue to penalise those consumed by poverty.

I can’t stand to see the leader of the country rub our noses in it like this and speak of focusing NOW on quality of those jobs or quality of life supports housing, etc.

Eight years too late for many who have no choice but to take zero hours contract that offer no stability or security – FG propped up by FF are a joke and the kicker is we have no alternative waiting in wings to seize power.

We don’t deserve this – our newly educated medics should not be forced to emigrate to work in safe and career advancement conditions not available at home.

And no one in our wealthy nation should have to beg, steal or borrow in the hope of finding a bed, night after night week after week year after year.

To add to our owes Dáil on holidays since yesterday to 17 Sept is another bloody joke – on us as usual…

Pic via MerrionStreet

This afternoon.

In the Dáil, during Leaders’ Questions…

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin that he has “absolute, total and full confidence” in Fine Gael TD and Junior Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe.

It follows calls for Mr Kehoe to resign, following his comments at the weekend in which he said two Irish Naval Service vessels, LE Eithne and LE Orla, are in the dock for “planned maintenance” and not crew shortages.

This was despite the Navy’s most senior officer Cmdr Mick Malone saying they were tied up because of manpower issues.

Mr Varadkar told Mr Martin that Mr Kehoe had been briefed at the Irish Naval Service base in Haulbouline, Cork, last Friday and “the remarks he made to the media reflect the briefing he was given in Haulbouline with officials and senior Navy staff present”.

Previously: Which Is It?

We’re Gonna Need A Smaller Boat


Luke Peter Silke


This afternoon

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the opening Of Centre Parcs in County Longford – home to Love Island contestant Maura Higgins.


This afternoon.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attended the official opening of the €233million Center Parcs Longford Forest outside Ballymahon in Co Longford.

Ceremony to mark completion of Center Parcs in Longford (Newstalk)

Previously: Gaslighting By Fanny

Longford, You’re A Lady

Pics: Merrion Street

Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey

There you go now.

Previously: ‘I Found Myself On The Floor’

Twisting In The Wind

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin Castle this afternoon

This evening.

Fianna Fáil front benchers – above from left Barry Cowen, Jack Chambers and Fiona O’Loughlin – respond to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar after he called their leader Micheál Martin a two-faced ‘sinning priest’.

Can this end well?

Earlier: ‘Don’t Become Petty, Silly And Idiotic In Your Response’


Yesterday evening.

In the Dáil.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar compared opposition leader Micheál Martin to a parish priest “who preaches from the altar, telling us to avoid sin while secretly going behind the altar and engaging in any amount of sin himself”.

It followed questions from Mr Martin about the National Development Plan and its costs and Mr Martin asking the Taoiseach not to be “petty, silly and idiotic” in his response.

Good times.

Taoiseach compares Fianna Fáil leader to sinning parish priest (RTE)

Last night.

US Ambassador’s residence, Phoenix Park, Dublin

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  with the new U.S Ambassador to Ireland Edward F. Crawford to mark the 4th of July Independence Day Celebrations.

Mr Crawford (81) explained that US president Donald Trump had offered him an ambassador posting before he had even been elected.

Asked by Mr Trump what country he would prefer, Mr Crawford responded: “Ireland”. When it was suggested that he give Mr Trump three choices, Mr Crawford said these were “Ireland, Ireland, Ireland”.

US ambassador vows to try to enhance relationship with Ireland (Irish Times)


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is among nine European People’s Party contenders named by Politico.eu as outside chances for the post of European Commission President

Ronan writes:

Will do wonders for his ego…

9 (more) center-right candidates for Commission chief (Politico.eu)


RTÉ reports:

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is flattered by media reports suggesting he could become head of the European Union’s executive, but insisted he was not seeking a career change.

Mr Varadkar said: “I’m flattered to be considered for the position of EU Commission President, but I have a job, it’s as Taoiseach of Ireland.

“I’m loving the job, I’m only getting started I hope, so I’ve no plans for a career change at this stage.

Taoiseach ‘flattered’ by EU job reports, but says no plans for career change (RTE)