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Behind the lines: The who, how and why that created Leo Varadkar's historic speech


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In the spotlight: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar making his address to the nation from Government Buildings. Photo: Mark Condren

In the spotlight: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar making his address to the nation from Government Buildings. Photo: Mark Condren

In the spotlight: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar making his address to the nation from Government Buildings. Photo: Mark Condren

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar decided towards the end of last week that he wanted to speak to the nation, believing it was important to address an increasingly unnerved Irish public on their national holiday - "a St Patrick's Day like no other. A day that none of us will ever forget," as he described it.

RTÉ confirmed last night the speech had 1,592,300 viewers, many of them drawn in by the sudden announcement just before 8pm that Mr Varadkar would address the country under a rarely invoked section of the Broadcasting Act that renders the national broadcaster powerless to stop the government from speaking to its people directly.

Mr Varadkar had already delivered a 'where were you when...' moment last Thursday outside the US president's guest house in Washington DC, announcing drastic measures to slow the spread of the virus, as dawn broke over the US capital.


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