Leo Varadkar officially becomes Taoiseach

The Fine Gael leader won the Dáil vote this afternoon

Leo Varadkar officially becomes Taoiseach

Leo Varadkar (right) becomes Taoiseach at Áras an Uachtaráin | Image via @PresidentIRL on Twitter

Leo Varadkar has officially become Taoiseach.

He arrived at Áras an Uachtaráin to collect his seal of office shortly after 3.00pm.

He signed the visitor’s book and went into a brief private meeting with President Michael D Higgins, before making his way to collect his Seal of Office.

Mr Varadkar signed the warrant of appointment given to him by President Higgins, before receiving the Seal of the Taoiseach and Seal of Government.

Watched by his parents Ashok and Marian - as well as family members and his partner Matt Barrett – Mr Varadkar officially became Ireland’s 14th Taoiseach.

He is the youngest person ever to hold the office. He now returns to the Dáil to select his Cabinet.

Earlier, he won the Dail vote to be elected Taoiseach by 57-50 votes - with 45 abstentions.

Outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny nominated the former Social Protection Minister to replace him. He was seconded by TD Josepha Madigan.

Speaking after his election, Mr Vardkar quoted poet Seamus Heaney: "Public leaders must swear to uphold unwritten law".

Following his nomination, Mr Kenny said: "He speaks for a new generation... He speaks for them like no other."

He continued by saying that Mr Varadkar had developed "the drive and the commitment that are required to succeed in politics."

Ms Madigan said the baton of Taoiseach being passed "from one of these great men to another", praising his "first-class intellect".

However, she concluded that Mr Varadkar will need "every ounce of his courage" to provide leadership for country.

Opposition reaction

In his speech following the nominations, Fianna Fáil leader Míchael Martin said the time for excuses is over.

"What we need is a new focus on the much harder work of delivering for the people," he said. "I say to Deputy Varadkar, if you wish to do more than talk about changing politics you have an opportunity to do this today before the vote on the new government."

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams outlined his hopes for Varadkar as leader of the country.

"Leo Varadkar could be a Taoiseach who sees the level of homelessness and the state of our health services, and says, 'No more. Not on my watch.'", he said in the Dáil.

As well as that, he mentioned his fears for the future - mainly that Mr Vardkar will "drag this Government even further to right".

Sinn Féin TD Louise O'Reilly said Varadkar gives hope to TDs who "failed to excel in the ministerial post & are not wanted by their membership."

While Labour leader Brendan Howlin wished Mr Varadkar well for his time as Taoiseach, his party did not support his nomination.

Richard Boyd-Barrett, leader of the Solidarity Party, said the Fine Gael leadership race was "all about personalities", with both Mr Varadkar and Simon Coveney failing to present their policies in depth.

"What people want is hope, not hype," he said. Solidarity also refused to support Mr Varadkar's nomination.

Additional reporting: Fionnuala Jones and Juliette Gash