Leo focuses on getting things done and making practical improvements to people’s lives. He managed the two biggest Government Departments in terms of budget (Social Protection & Health). He has dealt successfully with difficult industrial relations issues (transport strikes and threatened airport and nurses’ strikes) without ever giving in. He handled very sensitive and emotive issues in health with compassion.
He is a reforming Minister who has achieved a great deal in Government, including:
Leo has piloted 20 pieces of the legislation through the Oireachtas, including legislation to:
Europe and Brexit
In these difficult times it is vital that Fine Gael has a leader who is passionate about Europe and advancing Ireland’s place in the world. A member of the Cabinet Committee on Brexit, he is up to date and fully involved in the Government’s work and strategy particularly when it comes to the Common Travel Area with the UK. This includes cross-border issues like employment rights, pensions and welfare.
He chaired the Council of Transport Ministers during the Irish Presidency and has represented Ireland on the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) since 2014.
Leo is a member of the World Economic Forum (organisers of Davos) Young Political Leaders in Europe. He is a former Vice-President of the Youth of the European Peoples’ Party and has attended several European People’s Party Congresses.
Leo has taken part in three North-South Ministerial Council formations for Tourism, Transport and Health. His counterparts have included politicians from the Democratic Unionist Party, the Ulster Unionist Party, Sinn Fein and the SDLP. They have included Arlene Foster, Simon Hamilton & Mark H Durkan. He is an alumnus of the Washington-Ireland Programme (WIP) which includes many prominent leaders in Northern Ireland.
Among the North-South projects he has been involved in are – the A5 (road from Dublin to Derry), tourism co-operation around the Giro d’Italia and Irish Open and initiating the all-island Rugby World Cup bid. Co-operation in health included the provision of new regional cancer and cardiology services for West Ulster, including Donegal, based in Derry.
Leo is a Dublin TD but has close family links with rural Ireland. His mother grew up on a farm in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, now farmed by his uncle. He understands how important rural Ireland is to the fabric of the country.
He has overseen and driven practical improvements for rural Ireland such as:
He reversed the cuts to Farm Assist & Fish Assist, increased places on the Rural Social Scheme and provided new social insurance benefits to farmers and other self-employed persons (paternity benefit, treatment benefit for optical and dental care and invalidity pension).