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The Best and Worst Taoiseach In Irish History



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,764 ✭✭✭griffin100

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,467 ✭✭✭✭dxhound2005

    Both his parents were in the medical sector, and Leo became a doctor. Could be inherited.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,496 ✭✭✭crossman47

    I am no fan of Dev but you could not accuse him of being interested in personal riches. In his last years he fretted over his nursing home costs and whether he could afford them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,273 ✭✭✭BrianD3

    Obviously timing is vital, Ahern claimed that the economy was "sound" when he left in 2008. Within months we were in the sh1t and Cowen was the worst Taoiseach ever ever ever.

    Anyone who was Taoiseach during relatively good economic times (that weren't of his making) should be held to a higher standard.

    Varadkar has to be up there with the worst of them. I can't imagine any of the others thinking it would be a good idea to, for a bet, include a quote from Mean Girls in an address to the nation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,467 ✭✭✭✭dxhound2005

    "Responding to a question from host David McCullagh, who asked him if his use of the quote was appropriate, Varadkar responded: “I think any quote is appropriate if it’s appropriate in its context, whether it was written in a movie or by a poet.”

    “Yeah, in the context, it was in the context of our ambitions as a country and I know that some people may be snobbish about those things, that a quote from a movie is different from a quote from a poet or a great author like yourself, but I don’t see it that way,” Varadkar added.

    While McCullagh noted that it was a trivial issue, he pressed Varadkar further on whether his use of the quote was appropriate considering that many people had died as a result as Covid-19 and it has had a significant impact on the livelihood of thousands of people in Ireland.

    “I think any quote in any speech is appropriate if it’s in context and, you know, I’ve used quotes from poets and other writers precisely to deal with the issue that you have raised,” Varadkar responded.

    “The fact that there are over 2,000 people on this island who have died as a consequence of Covid, that they have families who are grieving, and there are 100,000 people out of work.

    “And I’ve used quotes that I identified with that I think explain some of the feelings that they’re having and the darkness around that.”

    Asked if it was a distraction from the serious message about Covid-19 in Ireland, Varadkar replied: “I think it was a distraction for some people, not for me.”

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  • Registered Users Posts: 138 ✭✭Terrier2023

    I believe Leo is the worst as he has no real love for Ireland,his experience of racism growing up has caused him to hate the Irish with venom and I think he is having his revenge now.

    Best man was Garret Fitzgerald.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,509 ✭✭✭✭yourdeadwright

    This is what i mean when i said he has no respect for his position quoting mean girls while addressing an nation in lockdown , who where losing loved ones, out of work , not seeing elderly relatives & missing important hospital appointments & hes making jokes ,

    I swear to god iv no idea how he hasn't been booted out his arse , the lad has absolutely no respect for our nation ,

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,764 ✭✭✭griffin100

    I think Leo is rapidly working towards being the worst, but not for the xenophobic like reasons stated above. And I would have been a supporter of his at the start.

    He started off relatively ok, was excellent in the initial stages of Covid when some hard decisions had to be made, but has increasingly become detached from both the responsibilities of his position and wider societal issues. He often sounds like the leader of the opposition, and he has promoted some serious idiots into high office. He looks like a man bored with the role and disengaged from responsibility. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t stand for re-election.

    The 1980s gave us two of the worst with Haughey and Fitzgerald swooping the job - from crook to incompetent and back again.

    I was living outside of the country when John Bruton was in the chair and wasn’t following Irish politics and I remember coming home for a visit and hearing his being called Taoiseach. That was scary.

    I am confident though that we have yet to see the worst. The thoughts of Taoiseach McDonald, Harris or McEntee fills me with dread.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,544 ✭✭✭✭AMKC

    DeVelera was the worst. He held the Country back for decades. Worst thing to ever happen to come to Ireland was DeVelera.

    Sean LeMass was the best. He set us back on the right course to being a modern Country.

    Live long and Prosper

    Peace and long life.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 12,564 Mod ✭✭✭✭JupiterKid

    Best in my humble opinion:-

    Sean Lemass - presided over the modernisation and industrialisation of Ireland in the 1960s when we were then an impoverished, agricultural backwater.

    Jack Lynch - held fast and held his nerve when his govt and FF party colleagues were intent in escalating the very dangerous situation in the North. With a lesser Taoiseach the conflict may well have spread South.

    WT Cosgrave - oversaw the first major slum clearances programmes and social housing schemes and the Shannon Scheme (Ardnacrusha dam and hyrdo) when the fledgling State was broke and recovering from the Civil War.

    Enda Kenny - he may have been rather dry at times but he did help steer the country through the worst of the post-bubble crash and banking system collapse etc.


    Brian Cowen - inept, incompetent and ineffectual.

    Michael Martin - total lightweight with no leadership gravitas amd lacking in any vision.

    Leo Varadkar - arrogant, smug, full of words but few meaningful actions. Out of touch with the hoi polliloi and their struggles. Neo-Thatcherite. Lacking in vision.

    Liam Cosgrave - his 1970s coalition government made some disastrous economic policies that effectively ended the 1960s/early 70s economic boom which led to the lean 80s. The oil crises did not help but Cosgrave's government's policies made things much worse.

    Post edited by JupiterKid on

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,386 ✭✭✭Rosahane

    What about the Irish Press ownership?

    The fact that he was ultimately unsuccessful in enriching himself is moot!

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,544 ✭✭✭✭AMKC

    and De Valera (for facing down the IRA and then guiding us through WW2).

    Your joking right. If I could go back in time I would make sure that vile man never came anywhere near Ireland.

    Live long and Prosper

    Peace and long life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,467 ✭✭✭✭dxhound2005

    The hoi polloi love to see their politicians having fun with language. Bonus points if it annoys the highbrow media. Bertie Speak has a Wikipedia page. He used to like to upset the apple tart. So fair play to Leo for getting down with the common people by using film quotes, as well as more highbrow references.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 9,987 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    One thing that has to be acknowledged in the Lemass era and going forward was the role of T. K. Whitaker. Without him things could have been very different.

    The most important thing about Kenny was that he did very little and that was what was needed. We (Swiss Banking) never lost confidence in the Irish economy because the problem as one of liquidity not insolvency and it would work itself out given time. Our only concern was that you'd get a government that would try to fix things and only make it worse breaking the winning formula.

    I think you had to live through the Liam Cosgrave era to realise just how bad things were. The sense of hopelessness that covered the country was just unbelievable. Of course there was not a lot in reality that could be done, but the lack of leadership was very significant.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,467 ✭✭✭✭dxhound2005

    If nothing could be done, it wouldn't matter who was in charge. No point in having some demagogue selling false hope.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,791 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    Absolutely not.

    Garrett was a good man, too good for politics really. But in terms of policy, he got caught up in the weeds on too many things, it made him a very poor executive. Indecisive, slow, intransigent.

    We need to frame the question being asked in this thread.

    Are we considering the greatest / least political impact? The biggest or smallest advancement of the Country in their tenre? Their personal character, behaviour and legacy?

    Or a mixture of all?

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 12,564 Mod ✭✭✭✭JupiterKid

    TK Whitaker was the architect of modern Ireland - his brainchild was the 1959 Programme for Economic Expansion which was implemented in the 1960s and led to a rapid change for the better and the growth of the new Irish middle class.

    Whitaker was also a firm proponent of EU membership and its benefits for Ireland. His plans effectively reversed the disastrous isolationism of the De Valera years.

    A remarkable man. 👍👍

    Pity the politicians didn't heed his advice and warnings in later years when their gombeenism and economic illiteracy wrecked our fragile economy in the late 1970s/early 80s.

    I myself was born during the Liam Cosgrave years. Didn't he also oppose a contraceptives bill that his own government put forward?