Taoiseach’s speech


Sir, – Miriam Lord says that Leo Varadkar’s national address “was a masterly speech from a skilled and elegant pen”, but actions speak louder than words (“Desperate times require extraordinary lines as Leo finds right words”, March 18th).

The Taoiseach insisted that: “Everybody must show solidarity in this time of national sacrifice”. But it’s a pity for thousands of homeless people, including, scandalously, many small children, that Mr Varadkar has never previously shown any enthusiasm for this type of co-operation between the State and ordinary citizens.

Indeed, the Fine Gael leader’s essential political philosophy is for government to do as little as possible – leaving everything for private interests to decide .

Most importantly, Mr Varadkar’s neoliberal belief system, both as minister for health and Taoiseach, has contributed to avoidable problems in the Irish health system.

We’re about to find out just how vulnerable these ongoing failings make our health system in this major, unprecedented crisis.

The Taoiseach paraphrased Winston Churchill’s famous line from the Battle of Britain speech. Let’s hope Mr Varadkar rises to the challenge like Churchill did in 1940, and when the Covid-19 conflict is finally over a grateful Irish people can see the back of him, like the British did to Churchill at the end of the second World War, putting a more caring leader in charge. – Yours, etc,


Arbour Hill,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – In his speech last Tuesday, the Taoiseach rightly thanked healthcare workers, volunteers, childminders, business people, delivery men, etc.

However, he forgot to thank our priests and deacons who continue to care for their people. So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the offering of their daily Mass, hours of prayer and adoration, celebration of funerals, weddings, baptisms, and their care of the sick and dying, the housebound, etc, during this difficult time.

With God’s help let us work together to get through this crisis. – Yours, etc,



Bishop of Waterford

and Lismore,