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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Louise Burne

Leo Varadkar pays tribute to Micheal Martin in emotional speech as he becomes Taoiseach again

Leo Varadkar paid tribute to outgoing Taoiseach Micheál Martin and his family as the Fine Gael leader was anointed Taoiseach in the Dáil this Saturday afternoon.

Mr Varadkar received 87 votes to be Taoiseach, with 62 people voting against him.

In an emotional speech, Mr Varadkar paid tribute to Mr Martin.

READ MORE: Live updates as Leo Varadkar to become Taoiseach for second time with Cabinet changes expected

“I want to take this opportunity to commend Micheál Martin on the leadership he has shown as Taoiseach, for putting the country before politics and for providing reassurance and hope during difficult times,” he said.

“In 2020 the new Taoiseach was unable to have his wife and family with him in the Convention Centre as he received the greatest honour of his life. That, too, was leadership. I am glad they are here today.

“During the pandemic, we saw the best of each other, and it meant that the new coalition was born in a spirit of togetherness and hope. I intend for that spirit to continue as we implement, with our partners in the Green Party, the agreed Programme for Government.”

Mr Martin’s family, including his wife Mary and son Micheál Aodh, sat in the distinguished visitor's gallery alongside Mr Varadkar’s parents Ashok and Miriam, his sister and his partner Matt Barrett.

Mr Varadkar also paid tribute to his own family.

“I also want to thank my family, friends and staff,” he continued.

“Thank you for your work, the love and support you have shown me. When we enter public life, we choose this path. Our loved ones do not.

“I want you to know that my work as Taoiseach is driven by your example. I intend to honour your confidence in me.

“Also, I want to thank all of the Deputies who supported my nomination – Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, the Green Party and Independents.

“When I became Taoiseach in June 2017 so much of the focus was on my election and what it represented and symbolised. That was understandable at the time, but today I think we should focus on where we are as a country and what needs to be done to prepare for the next century of statehood.”

Mr Varadkar said that he accepted that there are many things wrong in Ireland but vowed that the Government will work on them over the next two and a half years.

“In eight days’ time, most homes around the country will celebrate Christmas with presents and good cheer,” he continued,

“Most, but not all. For some families – for some children - Christmas is a time of fear and uncertainty. A time of unhappiness.

“Our greatest resource as a country is our people. So, let’s try and make sure all our people have a fair chance. Starting with our youngest. Their health. Continuing with education.

“Staying with our young people until they are able to create the future that they want. Providing them with the stepping stones to their ultimate freedom.

“Our ambition is to make Ireland the best country in Europe in which to be a child.”

The new Taoiseach is expected to unveil his Cabinet this evening.

It is now widely anticipated that Mr Martin will take over the Department of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Department of Defence,

This would mean Simon Coveney would move to the Department of Enterprise, which has been vacated by Mr Varadkar.

One senior Government source described the set-up to the Irish Mirror as a “three way switch” between Mr Varadkar, Mr Coveney and Mr Martin.


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