Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD commented, “I wish to congratulate Leo Varadkar on his election as Fine Gael Leader.  This is a proud moment for him and his family.

“Fianna Fáil remains committed to delivering in full the Confidence and Supply Agreement.  We signed up to this agreement because we wanted to restore fairness and decency to Irish society with greater investment in services for people.

“Given the range of urgent challenges facing the country, we decided to be constructive and to use our mandate in the most effective way possible.

“Like many people I am glad that the long standing issue over the leadership of the Fine Gael party is now settled.  Irish politics over the last twelve months has not been as productive as it could or should have been, and there is no doubt that the internal dynamic within Fine Gael has been the most influential factor in this.

“Completely insufficient progress has been made in addressing the housing crisis.  Access to health services is getting worse. There is an obvious need for substantially more investment in the country’s education sector. The country is also in urgent need of transformative infrastructure investment to improve areas such as broadband, public transport, road access and much more.

“Despite clear commitments in the Confidence and Supply Agreement, funding for mental health services fell short this year and this will have to be addressed in next year’s budget.  The Government has also been far too slow in treating patients through the National Treatment Purchase Fund when waiting lists are at an all-time record high.

“We now need to see a major step change in the energy applied by Government to addressing these issues.  The Irish people need to see delivery and a marked improvement in access to and quality of services.

“It is generally acknowledged that the government have been too slow in progressing much needed legislation such as the Technological Universities Bill, the Schools Admission Bill, the Public Health Alcohol Bill, the Zero Hours Contract Bill and the Affordable Childcare Bill.  Fianna Fáil will engage constructively to ensure the progression of these bills through the Oireachtas.

“I look forward to meeting with the new Leader of Fine Gael to discuss these and other outstanding issues. I will be emphasising the need for renewed focus on executing and delivering the commitments in our three year agreement.

“The settlement of the leadership question within Fine Gael gives everyone the opportunity to address all of these issues and get on with the job we were elected to do for the people of Ireland.”