The Fine Gael leadership contest

Sir, – One wonders why Fine Gael TDs and Senators have been so drawn to Leo Varadkar, as it certainly cannot be based on his achievements, as he has failed on a number of fronts. During his tenure as minister for health, he missed his own targets and presided over a botched staff recruitment scheme and failed to stem the escalating trolley crisis in hospitals. On that front, his only contribution was the daft idea of fining hospitals for having people on trolleys for longer than nine hours.

He scrapped the entire health strategy that Fine Gael had pursued for more than five years. Low and behold, his innovative vision for change to cure the ills in the health service was to hire more doctors and nurses, something that every dog on the street had been saying. He also threatened that “heads would roll” if the hospital situation was not improved. He later conceded that he did not have the authority to dismiss anyone.

His scheme to encourage Irish nurses to return from abroad was a failure. The prospect of nurses working for a pittance in overcrowded hospitals and having to pay inordinate rents did not seem to cross his radar.

His recent position of being critical of people who are less fortunate than the rest of us, while bankers were allowed to crash the economy to the tune of €64 billion, is despicable. Even though he previously said that “not one more red cent should be put into Anglo Irish Bank”, the government he was part of has ended up placing its €31 billion debt on the Irish people.


It appears that despite his many failures, he is still able to command positive media coverage that other politicians can only dream of. No matter what calamity has come his way, he seems to have an uncanny way of passing himself off as a mere commentator and innocent bystander in absolving himself of all faults, and gets away with it. – Yours, etc,



Co Limerick.

Sir, – Leo Varadkar speaks about those who pay a lot and feel they get nothing. He also speaks about those who pay nothing and feel they are entitled to everything. Not a word about those who have everything and still want more. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – I think that it is not in the best interests of the country for so many Fine Gael politicians to be declaring publicly their allegiances to the two potential leaders so early in leadership contest. The debate on policies is only beginning and yet many of the party have confirmed their intentions based on the personalities involved. I am certainly much more impressed by the politicians that have not declared their intentions yet, than those that have. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Leo Varadkar claims to represent those who “get up out of bed early in the morning”. Mr Varadkar should count himself fortunate that his job allows him to get out of bed at a consistent time each morning. What does he make of our public servants, including nurses, doctors, gardaí and firefighters, as well as security guards, bartenders, hotel staff and others who work irregular hours? Or maybe he thinks that the former among these are among those scrounging off the State, seeing as his remarks coincided nicely with the start of the Lansdowne Road renegotiations? – Is mise,


Cluain Dolcáin,

Baile Átha Cliath 22.

Sir, – It appears that the outcome of the Fine Gael leadership election has effectively been decided by the answers of the party’s Oireachtas members to one of the biggest questions of Irish politics of the last hundred years, “Are you with us or agin us?” – Yours, etc,



Dublin 15.

Sir, – We have an aspiring taoiseach leading a party that supports people who get up early in the morning. No mention of those up all night with children with disabilities, and no respite care, those crossing the city for school, coming from hotel rooms with children in tow, those up all night worried sick about rent payments. Leo would love us all up, suited and booted, and heading to the IFSC for 7am, coming from a swish apartment after the morning run.

And now he’s going to channel funds to provide step-down housing for older people. Well, Leo, older people are not stepping anywhere.

If he thinks he can shunt us all into two-bed micro-units until we conveniently get out of the way, then he’s gravely mistaken.

Older people are not going to water the balcony plants in Lilliput-style abodes while some yuppies work from home in our houses. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6W.