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Statement by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

22nd March 2024 - Leo Varadkar, TD

“Josepha is an extremely hard-working Fine Gael public representative. From councillor to Minister, she has been dedicated and committed to her work.

‘We first met at a Strictly Come Dancing charity fundraiser in South Dublin back in 2015 when she was a candidate for the Dáil. My partner, Matt, was one of the competitors. Shane Ross TD, then in opposition, was a judge. We hit it off and have been friends ever since. She is easily one of the kindest and most empathetic politicians I know. Sometimes kindness in politics is seen as weakness. I believe it is one of her strengths.

“I appointed her Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht in 2017 where she kicked off my plan to double expenditure on arts and culture by 2024, which has been achieved. She became the first ever Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion in 2020 with a budget of more than a billion euros, a role we crafted together. She has overseen a significant increase in investment in special education and inclusion. More special classes and special schools have opened and more SNAs and special education teachers are working in schools now, thanks to her work. She has ensured that many more children have the very best start in life.

“Josepha will be missed in the Dáil. I wish her the very best as she takes on a new chapter in her life after politics.”


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