Irish politics

Leo Varadkar has paid the price for banging on about Brexit

There has been a revolt in Ireland. Not a huge one. It isn’t a Brexit-sized rebellion. It isn’t an all-out populist protest against the establishment of the kind we have seen in the US and various European countries in recent years. But still, the result of Saturday’s general election is a brilliant blow against the Irish establishment and its obsessively pro-EU, anti-Brexit leanings. People are talking up the election result as a humiliation for Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader, Leo Varadkar. It certainly is that. Varadkar’s attempt to make the election about Brexit — and about his apparently brave efforts to frustrate Brexit — fell spectacularly flat. But Varadkar isn’t

Why we should welcome a Sinn Fein government

There are those – most of my acquaintance in Ireland, frankly – who can think of nothing worse than Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald as leader of the next Irish government. She’s embracing the prospect; in a walkabout in Dublin’s fruit and veg market in Moore Street, she said, as you’d expect, ‘I may well be the next Taoiseach, yes’. And yep, it would be a disaster for Britain when it comes to the Brexit negotiations. But I think that, actually, it might be the best outcome from this election which has resulted in Sinn Fein effectively level pegging with Fianna Fail in terms of seats (one FF representative is