Apr 16, 2024

TDs React to Varadkar’s Resignation as Taoiseach

TDs from Sinn Féin to the Social Democrats expressed surprise and concern at the Taoiseach's resignation.

Charlie HastingsChair of the Editorial Board
Anna Moran for The University Times

Fine Gael has now been in power for the last fourteen years, a feat not achieved in the previous 50 years of Irish politics, according to a recent speech from the now-former Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael Leo Varadkar. Varadkar’s stepping down has come as a shock to many, yet whether or not it as well as the internal selection of a new Taoiseach within Fine Gael is a welcome change is still a controversial issue.

Teachta Dála (TD) Mary Lou McDonald, leader of Sinn Féin, called out Fine Gael for their internal selection for Ireland’s new Taoiseach: “The next Taoiseach should be chosen by the people, not by the Fine Gael parliamentary party”. she said on X (formerly Twitter). “There needs to be a General Election…It’s time for change!”

TD Holly Cairns of the Social Democrats had similar thoughts, sharing on X that: “The writing is on the wall for this government, even the Taoiseach can see that. They’re failing on so many fronts. In housing, health, climate – the list goes on and on and on. A new Fine Gael Taoiseach isn’t going to fix that. We need a new government. We need an election.”


Others, however, praised Fine Gael’s choice for a new Taoiseach, Simon Harris, the former Minister for Higher Education, will take over the government’s leadership after the Dail’s Easter recess, with the support of most of Fine Gael and many other sitting TDs. 

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon, announced Mr Varadkar had “given his all” in a statement, adding that “it’s been a privilege to serve with him. Anyone who knows him as a colleague, knows how committed he was, how ambitious he was for Ireland”, he said.

Sligo-Leitrim TD Frank Feighan also said he was surprised to hear of Varadkar’s resignation and looked forward to the party’s future: “In fairness to him he always put the country first. He did an awful lot of good in politics. The country and economy is in a good place and did his best for Fine Gael and the country. It will be an interesting time over the next few weeks and months, the next few weeks especially.”

Members of other parties in the coalition also expressed their regrets on Varadkar’s stepping-down, including Eamon Ryan, head of the Green Party, who described Varadkar’s service to Ireland as “energetic” and “committed” in a statement. He went on to praise the work of the three coalition parties during Varadkar’s tenure. “The Green Party looks forward to the conclusion of the Fine Gael leadership contest and the election of a new Taoiseach by Dáil Éireann,” said Ryan, in a statement released via X. “In the interim, the important work of Government continues and the three coalition parties will continue to fulfil our mandate, just as we have done over the last three and a half years.”

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