Tuesday 17 October 2017

New leader's constituents overjoyed - but remind him not to forget his roots

‘Huge step for Ireland’: Laura Stears, of Clonsilla. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
‘Huge step for Ireland’: Laura Stears, of Clonsilla. Picture: Kyran O'Brien

Ryan Nugent

Don't forget your local constituents was the message to Leo Varadkar - as the new Fine Gael leader stands on the cusp of becoming Enda Kenny's successor.

Mr Varadkar comfortably claimed the Fine Gael leadership last night, and constituents in Dublin West admitted they were delighted to have one of their own at the helm.

John Sheridan (58) from Roselawn, a stone's throw away from Mr Varadkar's home, said it was important the Taoiseach-elect concentrated on youth, not only in his constituency, but across the country.

"He's young, he seems positive and I genuinely believe that we need new blood - I think he will make a bit of a difference and I'm delighted for him," Mr Sheridan said.

Read More: Backbenchers believe new leader can unify Fine Gael as race for promotion escalates

"In fairness though, if Simon Coveney had been elected, I would have wished him the best, but I would edge towards Leo."

Asked if he would like any added amenities in the area, he said that "we can always do with more schools" and he hoped sports facilities could be improved for children.

Fantastic

Sinead Healy (44) from Tyrrelstown said Mr Varadkar had already been heavily involved in pushing for schools.

"We're in the local school up the road and a lot of work has been done around there, so he seems to be promising and is a change to Enda Kenny," she said.

"He does fight for the area, he pushes for the new schools and that. I think he'll probably get a little bit more done."

As international media continue to highlight that Mr Varadkar will become Ireland's first openly gay taoiseach, Laura Stears (35) from Clonsilla said it was a huge step for the country.

Read More: Macron, Trudeau and Varadkar - how they compare and contrast

"I think it's fantastic, absolutely. It has to be a good thing where people don't feel afraid anymore," she said.

"It's not so much a gay thing anymore, we're all one community."

Eadaoin Lysaght (52) from Castleknock reiterated this, but insisted she did not expect handouts from the Fine Gael leader.

"He's lovely, he's great," she said. "I met him at a funeral one time, he's very shy, very quiet, I thought he'd be a great old chatterbox."

Irish Independent

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