Shropshire Star

Varadkar resignation will not prompt early general election – Martin

Tanaiste Micheal Martin said the three-party coalition should serve a full term.

RTE report

Deputy Irish premier Micheal Martin has insisted the resignation of Taoiseach Leo Vardakar would not prompt an early general election.

While Mr Martin said he was surprised by Mr Varadkar’s announcement, he insisted that the three-party coalition would serve a full term.

Flanked by party members, Mr Varadkar announced on Wednesday he is to step down as Taoiseach and is resigning as leader of his party, Fine Gael.

Leo Varadkar steps down as Taoiseach
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was flanked by party members when he made the announcement that he would be stepping down (Nick Bradshaw/PA)

Mr Martin said Mr Varadkar had briefed him and the other coalition leader Eamon Ryan on his intentions on Tuesday evening.

He said: “To be honest, I’m surprised obviously when I heard what he was going to do, but I want to take the opportunity to thank him sincerely.”

The Tanaiste added: “We got on very well. We had a strong personal relationship, the three leaders had, which I think was important in terms of the continuity and stability of the Government.

“And I want to take this opportunity again to wish Leo the very best in his personal life and in his career into the future.

“Could I further say from my perspective, this is a coalition of three parties, not personalities, and I remain committed to the continuation of government, to the fulfilment of our mandate and to the implementation of the programme for government.

“There are still very serious issues to be dealt with – housing, education, health, climate, energy.”

Leo Varadkar steps down as Taoiseach
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar leaves after speaking to the media at Government Buildings in Dublin, he has announced he is to step down as Taoiseach and as leader of his party, Fine Gael (Nick Bradshaw/PA

Mr Martin insisted the Government would work with the new Fine Gael leader to fulfil its mandate.

He said: “We will work with the newly elected leader of the Fine Gael Party in terms of continuing the coalition, and I’ve been very consistent from the very beginning that my view is the Government should go full term, and that remains my position as of today – a lot of work to be done and we’re going to continue to focus on getting that work done.”

Asked if a general election should be called early, Mr Martin insisted the Government has a clear mandate.

He added: “We have a clear programme for government.

“The government has done well in terms of the objectives of the forum for government in terms of the management of the economy, in terms of very significant progress in education, and in health, and in terms of navigating Covid-19, the war on Ukraine, and many, many challenges that have come our way.”

Irish constitution referenda
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said Mr Varadkar should be proud of his contribution to Irish political life (Damien Storan/PA)

Green Party leader Mr Ryan said Mr Varadkar should be proud of the contribution he has made to Irish political life.

He said: “I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Leo Varadkar for his work as Taoiseach.

“He has been an energetic and committed leader of the country who was always supportive of his government colleagues.

“It’s worth noting that the agreement at the start of this Government was between the three coalition parties, not the three leaders.

“That agreement stands, particularly in light of the important work that this Government has to do.”

Mr Ryan added: “The Green Party looks forward to the conclusion of the Fine Gael leadership contest and the election of a new Taoiseach by Dail Eireann.

“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.

“I would like to offer my good wishes to Leo as he prepares to depart the Taoiseach’s office.

“He has served the country well and can be proud of the contribution he has made to Irish political life.”

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