Leo Varadkar would stay on as minister if given ‘authority’

Leo Varadkar, the health minister, has said he would like to remain on in his position after the general election — but only if he is given the authority and resources.

Leo Varadkar would stay on as minister if given ‘authority’

The Fine Gael minister also revealed he would welcome seeing political rival Lucinda Creighton, leader of Renua Ireland, becoming a member of Cabinet.

Speaking to The Sunday Show on Newstalk radio, the Dublin West TD defended his role as health minister despite a strike planned by nurses later this week.

Asked if he wanted to remain as minister for health after the election, he said: “If I am given the opportunity I would be happy to be re-appointed, but I’d want to have the resources and the authority to make the decisions that need to be made and that isn’t always the case as a line minister.”

Ahead of planned strike action by nurses this Thursday, he defended his actions: “I accept that overcrowding is unacceptable, indefensible and it is going on for too long, and when you do that and you call it as it is you get criticised for being a commentator.”

Mr Varadkar was also asked how he would feel if Ms Creighton ended up in government with Fine Gael, her former party, after the election, and possibly in Cabinet.

“I’d certainly welcome Lucinda at Cabinet,” he said. “I think she is a politician of real class and ability and I was sorry to lose her from the party but that’s the way it is.”

However, he said there was a “weird dynamic” in politics at the moment in that Renua, which previously ruled out going into government with Fine Gael, now wanted to act as its “watchdog” in Government. Ms Creighton denied this.

Mr Varadkar ruled out adopting Renua’s flat tax proposals — 23% for all workers — as they would mean a very wealthy person would pay the same tax as a standard earner.

The measure would also leave a €3.5bn hole in the public finances, he added.

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