Thursday 17 August 2017

Decisions Leo makes now will determine his political career

Leo Varadkar is unlikely to copy Theresa May's folly and allow his head to be turned by a few good polls, writes Eoin O'Malley

HISTORY LESSON FOR LEO: Garret FitzGerald learned the hard way that it is best to concentrate on two or three items
HISTORY LESSON FOR LEO: Garret FitzGerald learned the hard way that it is best to concentrate on two or three items

On taking office in 1976, the new British prime minister, Jim Callaghan, observed that there was an initial flurry of activity - picking a cabinet, getting the nuclear codes, meeting the Queen - but then, "I sat back and realised I had nothing to do".

Leo Varadkar is unlikely to feel that way next weekend. He won't have to trouble himself with nuclear codes, but, barring upsets, he will have to meet Michael D Higgins. He will soon learn that the role of Taoiseach doesn't come with a job description. It is or becomes what he makes of it, and what the times demand and allow.

Immediately on becoming Ireland's 13th holder of the office of Taoiseach, he has a vital task: to pick his Cabinet. Then when he presents it to the Dail, on Tuesday or Wednesday, Varadkar will make a speech, one that usually sets out the ambitions and visions for the Taoiseach's term of office.

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