Leo Varadkar will become Irish Prime Minister for the second time this weekend. Under a coalition deal struck after the 2020 general election. Much has changed since Leo Varadkar resigned in June of the same year during the initial shock of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some issues such as the impact of Brexit and tensions over housing will become more familiar.
Supported by the Greens, the leader of Fine Gael will succeed the Republican Michel Martin. For the second half of a legislature shared between the two historic rivals.
Questions surrounding the Northern Ireland deal. Part of the Brexit deal Varadkar brokered in 2019 to keep the region within the EU’s customs territory remain unresolved. Despite reports positive progress and recent negotiations have intensified Varadkar is expected to speak with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak about the matter as soon as possible.
Varadkar, who served as deputy prime minister under Martin, is back at the helm as the country grapples with a cost-of-living crisis and high energy bills exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The influx of refugees has fueled concerns about a growing housing crisis
Housing will be one of the top policy priorities of the restructured government as it looks poised to move forward ahead of elections due in March 2025. The housing shortage has persisted for a decade and forecasts indicate that new construction will plummet next year. Varadkar’s first bill will be a planning bill. To make matters worse, the number of private landlords exiting the market in the second quarter doubled from a year earlier. With rising house prices, rent caps and the prospect of higher mortgage payments making renting less less attractive.
In a recent poll, 48% of respondents said the government was doing a good job in the overall management of the country.