Statement on the election of Leo Varadkar as leader of Fine Gael

Issued 2 June 2017

"On behalf of the Labour Party, I would like to extend my personal congratulations to Leo Varadkar on his election as leader of Fine Gael - today is a day that I’m sure will give enormous pride to him and to his family and friends. I would also like to congratulate Simon Coveney on a dignified and passionate campaign - I have no doubt that he will continue to play a significant role in the Fine Gael party for many years to come.

“If Leo wishes to command the support of Dáil Éireann to be elected as Taoiseach, I believe there are a number of changes to the Government of Ireland which he should commit to immediately. He will now have about ten days to identify his priorities before his potential election as Taoiseach, and I believe he should use that time to set out his commitment to making substantial changes to how Ireland is currently governed.

“Those changes should include a commitment to getting our Dáil back to work after a year of dormancy, a genuine commitment to respect the decisions on the Dáil, and a set of policy commitments for which clear public support has emerged - for immediate changes to the leadership of an Garda Síochána; for a referendum to repeal the eighth amendment; for ramping up investment in infrastructure; for funding of a new model of healthcare; and for a renewed charter of basic rights for all in work.

“During the election campaign over recent weeks, we heard some language from Leo Varadkar that was clearly designed to divide rather than unite our people. To serve our country as Taoiseach, such statements will need to be consigned to the dustbin, and he will need to present a vision for our future that can unite all of our people and deliver progress to all, and not just to a fortunate few.”