Minister for Health Leo Varadkar announces that he is gay
He made the announcement in an interview with Miriam O'Callaghan this morning on RTÉ Radio 1.
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has announced that he is gay.
Speaking in an interview with Miriam O'Callaghan on RTÉ Radio 1, the 36-year-old said that his friends and family have known for a long time but that he only told the Taoiseach this week.
The minister revealed that he only came to the realisation that he was gay in recent years, and he becomes the first openly gay member of the cabinet in the history of the state. He also revealed that he is not in a relationship at the moment, but would like to be.
Varadkar speaking like a leader, a statesman. Not many like him.
— John Fogarty (@JohnFogartyIrl) January 18, 2015
"I'm lucky to live in a country where we can have this conversation on the radio," Varadkar said.
O'Callaghan asked Varadkar is there was a part of him that didn't want to face up to his homosexuality?
"I guess so. That's probably the truth. But you get to a place in your life where you care less what other people think. All my friends are either getting married, having kids and settling and I started wondering if I wanted to be alone. That's what opened me up to the fact that life could be different."
— Sue Leonard (@Suejleonard) January 18, 2015
When asked what his family made of his decision to come out, he said: "I told my friends first, then my sisters, then my folks.
"I don't think any Irish families hug it out. My mum was concerned that I'd get beaten up on the street, or people would use it against me in politics. My dad comes from an Indian background and it's a very conservative society. It was a bit difficult for him but he's fine."
Varadkar was asked if his good friend Lucinda Creighton knew.
"Yeah, I think so. Though we haven't had that conversation specifically. She didn't know I was going to do (this interview)."
Fair play 2 Leo Varadker. Meas s brod.
— Gerry Adams (@GerryAdamsSF) January 18, 2015
He also described telling the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who asked him whether he had ever visited Panti Bar on Capel Street - as Kenny himself did late last year.
"The Taoiseach deserved a heads up. He said it was my private life, my private issue, that it was none of his business and nothing would change. He asked me if I had been to Panti Bar! He knew I was gay already and he was absolutely fine about it. He was really sound about it."