The Irish language, and official support for it, is a major political issue in Ireland (and has been so since the inception of Irish nationalism). This includes politicians' abilities to use the Irish language (or lack thereof).

To what degree is the new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, proficient in various aspects of the language (i.e. reading, writing, speaking)? What has been the reaction to his Irish language skills from pro-Irish language bodies and politicians?

1 Answer 1


He has completed the Gaelchultúr Level 4 course for public and civil servants He says and I Quote from this article:

It’s getting better but I’m far from fluent.

So no he isn't fluent. It is worth noting his rival wasn't fluent either

Mr Varadkar’s rival Minister for Housing Simon Coveney’s level of proficiency is described as “basic”, although he has taken some lessons 

  • 9
    It's worth noting that not very many Irish are fluent in the Irish language; it's compulsory on schools, but many simply forget much of it after they leave school. Irish is frequently spoken only in certain geographical areas, which prop up the nationwide number of speakers to about 10% at the most.
    – user11249
    Jun 15, 2017 at 6:14
  • Great answer! Are you aware of any reactions to his Irish skills from various pro-Irish language bodies/lobby groups?
    – user15034
    Jun 15, 2017 at 16:45
  • 2
    @suitvertices Not really, but I suspect that's because his level of proficiency is just about that of every Taoiseach Jun 15, 2017 at 19:04
  • s/every/every recent/ @<>SleepingGod . @martin-tournoij There are many opt-outs to avoid learning it in school. Though, you have to fulfill criteria to be exempt.
    – bobsburner
    Sep 10, 2019 at 16:25

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