Ireland’s new Prime Minister of Indian origin

Leo Varadkar becomes first openly gay leader of the country

Diaspora

June 10, 2017

/ By / New Delhi



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Ireland has got its youngest and first ever openly gay Prime Minister; and he is of Indian origin. Meet Leo Varadkar.

When Ashok Varadkar moved from Mumbai to Dublin, he would have hardly imagined his son taking over the leadership of this estranged nation and becoming its Prime Minister. But an entire age later, the unfathomable has happened in one of Europe’s most socially conservative country.

Leo Varadkar, an Indian-origin doctor has become Ireland’s first openly gay Prime Minister. Varadkar  who has won the leadership race for the ruling party is also the country’s youngest-ever minister at the age of 38. He will take over as the Taoiseach or as the Prime Minister of Ireland later this month.

Varadkar was declared the winner in the leadership race for the Fine Gael party as he took a majority of the votes to be declared as the 11th leader of the party. The final count, including all three electoral colleges, saw him win with 60 pc to housing minister Simon Coveney’s 40 pc votes. He will be succeeding Enda Kenny as Prime Minister in the coming weeks.

Varadkar’s election hints towards the changing mindsets of people in Ireland and how far the country has come. Ireland is deeply religious with many of its people’s lifestyle choices borrowed or heavily influenced by Catholic ideologies. The new election is also is indicative of how accepting the society is becoming and that nothing can stop a person from heading towards achievement here.

“If somebody of my age, of my mixed race background and of all the things that make up my character can potentially become leader of our country, then I think that sends out a message to every child born today that there is no office in Ireland that they can’t aspire to,” Varadkar told Newstalk radio.

Varadkar’s acceptance in the society and in the Parliament is also indicative of the more accepting Political atmosphere in the country.

“He’s a once-in-a-generation politician,” said Fine Gael member of parliament Jim Daly, echoing the comments of most of his colleagues who have placed high hopes in Varadkar who was not even born when Kenny, 66, was first elected as a member of parliament.

However, his young age is making some question his experience and abilities. Every Prime Minister before him, except Kenny, has either served as finance or foreign minister prior to taking office. Kenny sat in parliament for 35 years before his elevation. Varadkar was first elected only in 2007.

Nonetheless, his election is being celebrated by his family and friends, even back home in India.  After his victory, 150 family members from his ancestral house in Varad in Malwan district in Maharashtra went to a temple to conduct a thanksgiving puja while also celebrating the joy with their neighbours by distributing sweets.

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