Una Mullally: Leo Varadkar’s mask drops again

His callous off-the-cuff remark reminds us that he is not beyond scrutiny

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spun an anecdotal tale without offering any evidence to back it up. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell/The Irish Times

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spun an anecdotal tale without offering any evidence to back it up. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell/The Irish Times

Something changed last week. The mood shifted. With the initial shock of the pandemic’s arrival on our shores dissipating, a grim numbness has taken hold. Alongside the remarkable collective spirit shown across Ireland, an unease about the scramble to confront the virus on multiple fronts is growing.

At one point, our caretaker Taoiseach dispensed with caring for a moment, standing at a podium and delivering a seemingly off-the-cuff remark. “I have heard stories of people who have asked their employers to lay them off because they’d be better off on the €350 payment than maybe working 20 hours a week for €11,” he said, “you know, do the maths yourself.” Leo Varadkar then caught himself, but decided on another little dig. “I would just say to anyone who’s thinking that, we are all in this together, and nobody in any walk of life should seek to be better off, or seek to make a profit out of this crisis.” We are all in this together? It didn’t sound like it in that moment.

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