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Leo Varadkar's third Christmas as Taoiseach means he's no longer the shortest-serving office holder

Varadkar moves ahead of John Bruton in the length of time they’ve been Taoiseach.

An extra reason to smile this St. Stephen's Day.
An extra reason to smile this St. Stephen's Day.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

SPENDING CHRISTMAS DAY as Taoiseach has some extra significance for Leo Varadkar.

Today is Varadkar’s 935th day as Taoiseach and means he has overtaken Fine Gael colleague John Bruton in the length of time he has held the office.

Bruton now returns to the bottom of the exalted list in terms of cumulative days served as taoiseach, with Varadkar potentially moving past both Brian Cowen and Albert Reynolds if he can remain as taoiseach past mid-April 2020.

Varadkar’s has previously stated that his preferred date for the next general election would be May 2020, at which point Varadkar would have passed both Cowen and Reynolds.

The length of Varadkar’s stay in office is perhaps unexpected, such were the circumstance when became Ireland’s youngest Taoiseach on 14 June 2017.

At that point, the Fine Gael minority government had been in operation for about a year after it was initially formed under taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Kenny is Fine Gael’s longest-serving taoiseach having spent six years and three months in office from March 2011 until he was replaced by Varadkar.

Ireland’s first taoiseach WT Cosgrave spent almost over nine years in office (as President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State) and latterly became leader of Fine Gael, but his time as taoiseach from 1922 was during his leadership of Cumann na nGaedheal, a forerunner to Fine Gael.

Only two taoisigh have served more days in office than Cosgrave, Fianna Fáil’s Bertie Ahern and Éamon de Valera.

Ahern spent an unbroken period in office of ten years and ten months from June 1997 but de Valera remains way out in front with 21 years and two months over three periods as taoiseach.

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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