By Jonathan McCambridge, PA
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has admitted he can be too blunt when answering questions and that it is something he needs to be more careful about.
The Fine Gael leader, who became Taoiseach for a second time earlier this month, said it was his political style and personality to give a straight answer to a straight question.
Mr Varadkar was asked if he thought that he was too blunt and that sometimes it did not endear him to people.
He said: “Yeah, I guess so. That is something I will be more careful with, quite frankly.
“It’s probably in my nature and my personality to give a straight answer to a straight question.
“But tone is important and often it’s important not just what you say, but how you say it.
“There have been examples in the past and I don’t want to go through them, I’m sure you’ll find them, where I would have said things that are factually true, but sometimes the way you say them can come across wrong or can come across as though you don’t understand or you don’t care.
“That is something I need to be more careful about in the future. I intend to be. I won’t be perfect.”
He continued: “It’s the nature of politics that people in politics sometimes don’t want to answer questions because they don’t want to start a row or start a controversy.
“That actually makes sense in my view. But it is about getting the balance right, I suppose.”
Asked whether he thought Sinn Féin had been forthcoming enough in answering questions, the Taoiseach replied: “I don’t particularly want to use this briefing to have a go at Sinn Féin.
“There will be a time and a place for that.”