Taoiseach congratulates Rishi Sunak on becoming new Conservative Party leader

Micheál Martin said he looked forward to working with him on ‘important issues’

The Taoiseach Micheal Martin has congratulated Rishi Sunak on being appointed Conservative Party leader and said he looked forward to working with him as British prime minister.

Mr Martin also said that it was important that countries with similar values come together in the face of severe threats and aggression and war on the people of Ukraine

The Taoiseach tweeted: “Congratulations @RishiSunak on becoming leader of the Conservative Party.

“I look forward to working with you, as British PM, on the important issues we face on these islands, and globally.”


Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also took to Twitter to congratulate Mr Sunak.

“Congratulations @RishiSunak on becoming Conservative Party Leader and PM. You have worked hard to achieve this. These are challenging times of war, inflation, global uncertainty. I look forward to the UK working with Ireland and the EU as friends and allies in the years ahead,” he tweeted.

Earlier, the Taoiseach said he looked forward to meeting the new British prime minister “as quickly as possible” and to engage on issues such as the need to get Northern Ireland institutions up and running.

Speaking before confirmation that Richi Sunak is the new leader of the Conservative party, Mr Martin said it was very important that there is a strong relationship between the EU and the UK governments “particularly in the context of the very severe geopolitical environment that we are living in”.

He said it was important that countries with similar values come together in the face of severe threats and aggression and war on the people of Ukraine.

Speaking after the 62nd plenary of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly, at Farnham Estate Spa and Golf Course,
Co Cavan, Mr Martin paid tribute to outgoing prime minister Liz Truss, saying that “the mood music had certainly changed in the aftermath of her election, in terms of engagement with Europe”

It was important to maintain that momentum and to have substance in negotiations between Europe and the UK “that would lead to a meaningful resolution of issues around the protocol”, he added.

Asked whether he expected changes under Rishi Sunak, Mr Martin said: “sometimes we can overemphasise the personality dimension”.

There were very realpolitik issues in terms of the politics of the situation in the UK and Northern Ireland, he said.

“So very often it is the degree to which a prime minister or political leaders in the North can navigate their constituencies to an agreed solution landing zone”.

The Taoiseach said he detected from Liz Truss a desire to get issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol resolved. “And it was made very clear to me that the British government did want to get this resolved through negotiation as the preferred way of doing it”. He said he would like to see that continue under a new British prime minister.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh, a contributor to The Irish Times, reports from the northwest of Ireland