Varadkar pays tribute to Enda Kenny in acceptance speech
Leo Varadkar has been elected Ireland’s youngest Taoiseach ten years to the day after he first entered the Dail as a newly elected TD.
He was elected by 57 votes. There were 50 votes against and 45 abstentions.
Mr Varadkar said there is no greater honour for any Irish politician and was deeply honoured.
As he made his acceptance speech, during which his parents watched from the visitors’ gallery, he paid fulsome tribute to his immediate predecessor Enda Kenny.
Mr Kenny had not just made his political career possible, he said, but in bringing in marriage equality he had also made him an equal citizen. Mr Varadkar, 38, from Castleknock, is gay.
The new Taoiseach said the government he will lead will be neither right-wing nor left-wing and that he had no interest in fighting the political battles of the 1980s.
The new Irish government would be centrist, and European.
— Sharon Tobin (@sharontobin) June 14, 2017
One of his first actions as Taoisech, he said, would be to telephone British Prime Minister Theresa May to express Irish sympathies for the North Kensington fire and to express solidarity with the people of London who had endured so much in recent weeks.
He said also that later this week he would meet Northern Ireland’s political parties and repeated that the Irish government has an important role as co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement.
His first official act was to propose suspension of the Dail for four hours while he travelled to Aras an Uachtarain to be officially appointed to the office by President Michael D Higgins.
In the meantime, discussions were to take place on his new, reshuffled cabinet.