Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.15 14 Sep 2021


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Tánaiste and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar admits the party 'has not been at its best' in recent weeks.

He was speaking after he apologised to his party at their think-in over the controversy surrounding the attempted appointment of Katherine Zappone as a UN Special Envoy.

Asked about recent negative stories around Fine Gael, and falling popularity, he told Newstalk Breakfast this would be the truth.

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"They're correct, and that's what my parliamentary party has said to me, it's what party members and party supporters are saying to me.

"They're saying that we haven't been at our best for the last couple of weeks, that those of us who hold the leadership and most senior positions in the party are partially responsible for that.

"They're telling us now to regroup, to reset, rebound, knuckle down and concentrate on doing the people's work for the next couple of months - and that's what we're going to do".

Festival backlash

Asked if he was surprised to the backlash over his being recently photographed at a music festival in the UK, he says nothing surprises him.

"To be honest I'm rarely surprised at a furore these days, I've experienced quite a few of them.

"What I would say is that when it comes to the events sector, I've been one of the strongest supporters of that sector around the Cabinet table.

"Was a strong advocate for Electric Picnic going ahead, we didn't actually cancel that".

Asked by host Ciara Kelly if it was 'tone deaf' to be at a festival in Britain when Ireland could not host such events, he says: "I can understand the criticism and I take that onboard".

On an upcoming no confidence motion in Simon Coveney, he says he believes Mr Coveney will survive.

"There isn't anyone in the Dáil, or any colleague, I would have more confidence in than Simon Coveney.

"I think we all make mistakes - we all mistakes in our lives and we all make mistakes in our jobs.

"Whether it would be proportionate for him to lose his job over it, I don't think so".

Asked about his own future, Mr Varadkar says he intends to keep leading the party.

"I want to assure you - and your listeners and my party - that I'm absolutely committed to my constituency of Dublin West, I'm committed to my job as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment... and I'm committed to my party and leading the party into the next election".

'We haven't been at our best' - Varadkar says Fine Gael needs to 'regroup and reset'

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Main image: Tánaiste Leo Varadkar speaks to media outside Trim Castle in Co Meath, as the Fine Gael party think-in takes place. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

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Electric Picnic Fine Gael Katherine Zappone Leo Varadkar Music Festival Newstalk Breakfast

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