If like me you were one of the many Irish feeling proud after reading last week’s article in Time Magazine on Leo Varadkar, you may also be feeling hopeful for Ireland’s future.
It’s has been a while, I have to say since I have felt inspired by a politician.
Varadkar starts off his interview with a frankness that is both refreshing and concise and explains that his government is similar to new divisions emerging in Europe as centrist politics. Which we are seeing across Europe and globally at the moment, with Macron, Trudeau, Rutte of the Netherlands and Angela Merkel in Germany. Moving away from the more traditional ‘Right and Left’ instead choosing to side with the right on economic issues while leaning to the left on issues such as Personal freedoms and the role that government has on redistributing wealth.
This may sound a little al la carte to some people but why not. To me this is a sensible approach to politics, instead of having to be restricted to your party politics – or pledge your alliance to the right or the left, do what works and what the people want.
When asked “How does Ireland maintain influence, while its biggest partners in Europe and in the U.S. are seeming to turn inward?” Varadkar replied with a charismatic reference to Michael Collins “I would like Ireland to become what Michael Collins described as the shining light unto the world. A country that people look to for example, for example in terms of things like our economic progress, the strength of our economy, our success as a trading nation and more recently in terms of social liberalism, although we have more to do in that space.”
Varadkar went on to explain how Ireland is a key player in Europe, even if we sit on its periphery, saying “The way I see us is as an island at the center of the world.”
As one of the founding members of the single market and of the Euro, Ireland has had a pioneering role as a small country, being first and leading the charge with many policies and initiatives.
When asked about his concerns on the UK leaving Europe and how its departure from the E.U. might hurt the Irish economy? Varadkar gave strong practical answers without overpromising and explained that it is in all of our interests to work together. However when challenged with the idea of Ireland having an “Irexit”, Varadkar ruled this out straight away, Explaining that Ireland has on many occasions taken a different road than the United Kingdom and have emerged stronger and more prosperous as a result.
Again the calm transparent manner of how Varadkar conducted this interview with honest reply’s on how he would not be telling President Trumph on how to run America but will be getting his point across on the importance of free trade. Varadkar also highlighted the importance of equality in all in all aspects of life and not just in Ireland but globally.
I wish Leo Vardkar, the 13th Taoiseach and 14th head of government in the history of the State all the very best and hope that he leads Ireland, that small dynamic country that we are, into peace and prosperity for all.
References to - Jennifer Duggan - Time.com
Jul 13, 2017