The leadership speech Kenyans needed to hear during COVID-19 came from the Irish PM

On Wednesday, 17 March, on St. Patrick’s Day, Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar gave a speech to his small nation that, in a normal world, shou

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On Wednesday, 17 March, on St. Patrick’s Day, Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar gave a speech to his small nation that, in a normal world, should have been given by leaders everywhere. But these are far from normal times.

In stark contrast Varadkar’s speech, which wasn’t “grim,” as some placed, it was however serious in a time of serious trouble. A feature of leadership found wanting among many of our leaders. Varadkar said his country might see coronavirus cases jump from the current 300 to 15,000 by the end of March. “This is the calm before the storm—before the surge,” he said.

But his words were genuine, authoritative, informative, and calming. “We’re asking people to come together as a nation by staying apart from each other,” he said.

It rang with a Churchillian tone even before the Irish PM borrowed an actual line from the British PM circa World War II: “Never will so many ask so much of so few,” Varadkar said, referring to Ireland’s healthcare workers.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes out of your day to watch the speech. I did, and I left it feeling well-appraised of a crisis with global proportions. And a bit calmed, too.

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