Political expert Tom Gallagher said Leo Varadkar had paid the ultimate price at the polls for making Brexit his main focus during his electoral campaign. During its campaign, Mr Varadkar’s party Fine Gael highlighted their leader’s success in preventing a hard border on the island and keeping Northern Ireland free of checks after Brexit.
But the strategy fell flat amid voter dissatisfaction over an ongoing homeless crisis, a creaking health service and a huge tranche of voters aged under 35 locked out of the housing market.
Mr Gallagher wrote: “Leo Varadkar thought that bashing Britain over Brexit would be the campaign theme that would enable his Fine Gael Party to achieve second decade in power.
“But instead, at 41, he looks washed-up politically and is unlikely to be in charge if the deadlocked result on means another general election has to be held before the year is out.
Leo Varadkar was called out over his Brexit bashing
“An exit found that only 1 per cent of voters identified Brexit as the most important issue for them.
“Health was the chief concern of 32 per cent, closely followed by housing and homelessness.
“The terrible twins of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have no answers for these grave problems.
“Power to them was not about problem-solving but using control of the state to reward themselves and their backers in different ways.”
Speaking during the elections, Fine Gael director of elections Paschal Donohoe said Brexit was the “vital background to the election”, and Fine Gael had “the plans and the people to keep the country safe”.
Mr Gallagher said Mr Varadkar’s future would now lie in the European Commission but warned his trust from voters had been “shattered”.
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Writing for Think Scotland, he added: “Varadkar is likely to be found a place in the European Commission, as has been the case with so many unsuccessful but loyal domestic politicians previously.
“But relations of trust between the political class and the voters have been shattered.”
His scathing attack comes after Mr Varadkar conceded defeat to Sin Feinn but insisted he would still lead an opposition party.
Mr Varadkar’s Fine Gael party came third in the popular vote, with the PM himself only securing reelection at the fifth count - a major humiliation in Ireland’s electoral system, in which multiple MPs are elected per constituency.
Fine Gael got just under 20.9 percent of the vote – its worst ever election result - trailing behind rivals Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein.