"I have grown, evolved and changed in that time as well, but I am still motivated by the same ideals which drove me to enter politics in the first instance." Leo Varadkar, June 14, 2017, his maiden Dáil speech as Taoiseach.
The question is: what are the ideals that have motivated Leo Varadkar during his more than 20 years in politics?
As he prepares to leave the Taoiseach's Office, Varadkar is a very different politician to the one who entered Leinster House in 2007.
The conservative rhetoric of a politician who once compared travelling to Britain for an abortion to going to Amsterdam to smoke cannabis, is gone. He was replaced by a party leader who oversaw the most significant reform of abortion laws in the history of the State.
The minister who told us 'welfare cheats cheat us all' is now overseeing the single biggest social welfare budget any government has ever produced. Admittedly, his hand was forced on this by the coronavirus - but in 2010 or even 2016, Leo Varadkar may not have been so generous.
In the same speech quoted earlier, the outgoing Taoiseach said he believes in the "power of politics".
"It is not perfect, but it is the best way of solving problems and helping to build a better future," he added.
Much of his time in the Department of the Taoiseach has been spent firefighting. Some of it was self-inflicted, such as during the controversy surrounding the Strategic Communications Unit.
As with many good ideas, the problem was with the execution - and a plan to streamline government messaging resulted in a stream of bad press landing on Varadkar's lap. If his communications unit had not hit a brick wall, Varadkar may have had more luck in selling the success of his government to an electorate which was becoming increasingly frustrated with Fine Gael. There are many criticisms you can level at Varadkar and Fine Gael, but you cannot deny the fact they brought the country back from the brink of bankruptcy during nine years in government.
Before the general election in January, the economy was booming. Employment hit record highs, the budget was balanced and we were looking ahead to years of economic growth.
Obviously, the Covid-19 pandemic put paid to that - but before the national emergency, the economy was in a more than stable state.
Going into the general election, Varadkar had a good story to tell, but no one wanted to listen. There was also the far from inconsequential fact that Fine Gael under his watch let a housing crisis develop which affected people across society. There were not many homes in the country where the cost of new homes, or sky-rocketing house prices, were not discussed several times a week.
Adult children were forced to move back to their parents' homes and many ended up resenting Fine Gael.
Images of children eating their dinner sitting on the streets of the capital, or families living in cars, will always haunt the memory of the Fine Gael minority government.
A lot of work was put into resolving the housing crisis, but an over-reliance on the private market and inability to navigate the bureaucracy of the planning system meant very little got done. A shortage of construction workers did not help matters either.
Despite spending years developing a reputation for being the prudent party of politics, Fine Gael began facing accusations of reckless splurging of taxpayer money on big infrastructure projects.
Spending seemed to be out of control, and budgeted costs for a project paled in comparison to the final bill.
Ministers did not seem to have a handle on their departmental purse strings, and they had already spent so much money on projects they couldn't back out.
The National Children's Hospital and the National Broadband Plan were the main problems. The cost of both soared far beyond their original estimates and Fine Gael was left scrambling to explain why it was pumping in billions of taxpayers' money.
Fine Gael protested that the projects were costed years earlier, when post-recession construction costs were cheaper.
Once both projects are completed, the costs will be forgotten (who remembers how much the Luas cost?) and we will have nationwide broadband and a world-class hospital for children, the party argued.
Brexit was the shadow that loomed over every decision Varadkar took during his three years as Taoiseach.
The uncertainty surrounding the UK's decision to leave the European Union paralysed the Government from taking many actions.
We still don't know what the economic impacts of Brexit will be when Britain finally breaks ties. But Varadkar did protect Ireland's interest throughout the negotiations and developed strong relationships with EU leaders which helped our cause.
The last-ditch summit with Boris Johnson in the UK was also crucial to striking a deal on the withdrawal agreement.
But Varadkar put too much focus on these achievement s during the general election, and the party's obsession with Brexit during the campaign now means he must wait two-and-a-half years to return to the Taoiseach's office.