Dáil debates

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

12:05 pm

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Go n-ainmneoidh Dáil Éireann an Teachta Leo Varadkar le bheith ceaptha ag an Uachtarán mar Thaoiseach.

I move:

That Dáil Éireann nominate Deputy Leo Varadkar for appointment by the President to be Taoiseach.

Having worked closely with Deputy Varadkar throughout his political career I am confident that he will carry out the role of An Taoiseach with energy, integrity and skill. From his deep involvement in the Young Fine Gael movement as a young student to his election to Fingal County Council in 2004 and his election to this House, Dáil Éireann, in 2007, Deputy Varadkar has demonstrated the drive and the commitment that are required to succeed in politics.

Immediately upon his election to this House I appointed him to the Fine Gael Front Bench, first in the enterprise brief and later as spokesman on energy and communications. In both roles he worked diligently in developing new and innovative policy proposals. Since then I had the privilege of being first elected Taoiseach in 2011 and have had the privilege of appointing Deputy Varadkar to three separate Cabinet positions, as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Minister for Health and more recently as Minister for Social Protection. In each of these Ministries Deputy Varadkar has had significant achievements, whether the revitalisation of the tourism industry, the oversight of The Gathering, stabilising the health service and rolling out free general practitioner, GP, care for children younger than six years or increasing the weekly payments to those dependent on social welfare.

In 2011 the Irish people elected a new Government to rescue the economy, to get Ireland working again and Deputy Varadkar in his Ministries was central to that work. Today our country is in a much stronger position than previously, the troika has left, unemployment has fallen dramatically and the public finances are in very good shape. However, many challenges remain, not least in areas such as health and housing and child poverty. We must continue to manage the economy carefully so that it generates the resources that we need to rebuild our essential public services.

As Taoiseach, Deputy Varadkar will meet these challenges head on, including Brexit and Ireland's future place in the European Union. As the country's youngest holder of this office he will speak for a new generation of Irishwomen and Irishmen. He represents a modern, diverse and inclusive Ireland and will speak for it like no other, an Ireland in which each person can fulfil his or her potential and live his or her dreams.

I wish Deputy Varadkar and his team every success in the challenges that lie ahead. I have no doubt but that he will build on the solid foundations on which our country now stands and that he will see that it is managed carefully in the people's interests and that the decisions his Government will make will always hold the people as central to those decisions. I therefore commend his name to the House for selection as Taoiseach of Ireland.

12:10 pm

Photo of Josepha MadiganJosepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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The Office of Taoiseach has been occupied by many great men. Today, the baton is passing from one of these great men to another. I am privileged to be following Deputy Enda Kenny in seconding Deputy Varadkar’s nomination for the position of Taoiseach.

These great men were men of their time. Deputy Varadkar is of his time. He is a leader for the Ireland of today - open, decent and compassionate. I was first elected 16 months ago to represent the constituency of Dublin-Rathdown and was fortunate to participate in the government formation talks last year. There I saw up close Deputy Varadkar’s leadership skills. He is a person of great qualities - honest, genuine and decisive with first-class intellect. Most of all, he is courageous. A famous man once remarked, “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities ... [because] it is the quality which guarantees all others.”

So far in your life, Deputy Varadkar, you have shown great courage and achieved so much. You will need every ounce of that courage to provide the leadership required for this country over the coming years. There will be many challenges ahead but I am confident you are the best person and are best placed to meet these challenges. There is so much we can proud of, yet there is always going to be more to be improved upon. I believe that under your leadership we can take this country forward to a place of continued growth and increased revival. You are sensitive to the needs and wants of all. You are dedicated to the public interest. You are an honest man. I know you will not be found wanting. You have all the characteristics and, as Deputy Enda Kenny said, the energy to succeed, energy that will be needed every day you occupy the Office of Taoiseach. I also know you will do everything to make sure you will leave this country in a better place, not just for us but for our children, and you will do so, not just for the few but for the many. You have the talent to lead the country. You have the ambition for this nation and all her people. For this beloved country of ours, you are the right person for the right time.

Ireland stands to gain from the election of Deputy Varadkar as Taoiseach. That is why I am honoured to second his nomination.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call on the Chief Whip to announce the proposed business for the day.

Debate adjourned.