A Valedictory for Vicious Varadkar

The working class celebrated Varadkar unexpected resignation as Taoiseach
on 20 March. Varadkar is one of the most vicious neo-liberal capitalist
politicians in the South and his departure has been much anticipated and
wished for by the victims of his policies for many years now.
In his resignation speech he stated: ‘I am no longer the best person for the job.’
When was he ever best person for the job?
His election as Taoiseach in 2017 made headlines around the world. Liberal
identity politicians celebrated the election of a gay man of Indian heritage to the
premiership of a western country. However while ticking the boxes for some it
was met with scepticism from many at home, especially by those who were
aware of his record.
In an interview with Hotpress Magazine in 2010 he voiced his opposition to
same sex marriage stating it was clear in the constitution that marriage was
between a man and a woman. Ever the opportunist he did an about turn during
the marriage equality referendum in 2015, when he came out as a gay man and
changed his support to a ‘Yes’ vote under pressure from a grass roots
campaign from below.
In the same interview he was asked if he thought abortion should be legalised in
Ireland. He replied: ‘I don’t, in short.’
His opposition to abortion rights was reversed when a mass of women took to
the streets during the Strike for Repeal on International Women’s Day 2017.
Even after the victory of the repeal campaign, which was down to decades of
the hard work by grass roots activists, Varadkar posed for a photo in Dublin
Castle looking pensive and spoke about ‘The Quiet Revolution’; a statement
completely out of touch with the thousands of young people celebrating loudly in
the square of Dublin Castle.
Varadkar has left us with the highest numbers of homeless people ever
recorded – 13,841 people, including 4,170 children, according to latest figures.
His legacy includes a housing crisis that will shape life in Ireland for the worst, in
the decades to come. And a deepening of the long-standing crisis in the health
Years of ‘dog-whistling’ by Varadkar and other neo-liberal hawks, has seen the
emergence of the far right, and the spectre of neo-fascism and intolerance
come to the fore in Ireland. In fact, in 2008 he suggested that jobless non-

nationals be paid to go home, a suggestion at the time which drew parallels with
a similar policy advocated by the British National Party. Now he leaves us with a
country where asylum seekers sleeping in tents in the snow were subsequently
shifted to an empty field beside a burnt out disused hospital, to spare the
government embarrassment during St Patrick’s Day.
Varadkar will not be missed. Like his predecessors, Brian Cowen and Enda
Kenny, he will largely be forgotten about over the coming months. Despite
efforts to portray Varadkar, Cowen and Kenny as ‘patriots’ and ‘statesmen’ they
will be remembered more as partisans of austerity and for their callous
indifference to declining living conditions. Varadkar’s successor, the equally
odious Simon Harris, should not have a honeymoon but rather a period of deep
A trouncing of government parties in the local and European elections and
forcing the new Taoiseach to call a general election, would bring some
satisfaction to those who have suffered under Varadkar and his government’s
However, a new government either patched together by Sinn Fein, the soft left,
and members of PBP, or more probably a coalition between Sinn Fein and
Fianna Fail, could win some reforms but would unable to solve the problems
facing the working class without a break with capitalism.
Real change can only be achieved by an organised working class fully prepared
to overthrow the system that fundamentally oppresses all who must sell their
labour power in order to survive. For a truly equal society we need to build a
mass workers’ party to remove once and for all the exploiters, and their minions
like Leo Varadkar, from power.