Wednesday 22 November 2017

Talk about reform is cheap: Leo Varadkar

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar

Fionnan Sheahan Group Political Editor

LEO Varadkar has taken a sideswipe at Lucinda Creighton's Reform Alliance, saying there's a difference between making change happen "and just talking about it".

Ahead of the Fine Gael rebels' 'Monster Rally' in the RDS today, the Transport Minister says the reforms being introduced by the Government was "hard won and hard work".

"Talk, however, is cheap," he says, pointedly.

Writing in today's Irish Independent, Mr Varadkar says reform "can mean almost anything you like", but implementing change is a bigger challenge". "Like so many buzzwords and concepts, reform is meaningless without a philosophy to underpin it, and without detailed research and costed policies to implement it, in order to demonstrate how it would improve lives."

In an obvious dig at the Reform Alliance's focus on Dail procedures, Mr Varadkar says the most important reforms are "not those that make a politician's day more engaging, nor those that make politics more interesting for those who follow it".

"It's not about revising the standing orders in the Dail or changing the method of electing the Ceann Comhairle.

"Reform is about driving social and economic change for the benefit of everyday people. It's about schools and universities, health care, jobs, opportunities and family budgets.

"It's about protecting our environment for future generations and about embracing diversity and inclusion," he says. Although Ms Creighton (pictured) is not mentioned by name, sources close to minister say Mr Varadkar is targeting Ms Creighton.

"She has walked away from a reforming Government. She has wrapped herself in this flag of reform as if she is the sole possessor of it," a source said. Mr Varadkar and Ms Creighton have been friends for more than 15 years after starting out together in student politics.

But their relationship has been damaged by the fallout from Ms Creighton's departure from Fine Gael.

"They are not as close as they used to be. He gave her some advice after she left the party and she blabbed it on the media.

"I think that really upset him. But he's probably be as keen for her to come back into the fold as anyone," a source said.

leo varadkar: p26

Irish Independent

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