In what is being flaunted as a massive generational shift in politics of Ireland, the 38-year Indian-origin politician Mr. Leo Varadkar is likely to be named the country’s next Prime Minister, succeeding Enda Kenny, 66, and bringing with his election a series of firsts in a historic mandate. He was elected as leader of the governing Fine Gael party on Friday (2nd May, 2017) marks a symbolic moment for Ireland in several ways. First, this will be the foremost time that an Indian-origin politician will be becoming the once-staunchly Catholic country’s first openly Gay prime minister; it’s also the first of Indian descent and the youngest person ever to hold the office.
When Leo Varadkar’s Indian father, Ashok, moved to Ireland in the 1970s, he chose one of Western Europe’s most socially conservative countries to call home and 38-years down the line, his child is set to become the youngest PM of the once-staunchly Catholic country. Mr. Leo Varadkar was born in Dublin is the son of an Indian doctor and an Irish nurse. He came out publicly as gay in the run-up to a 2015 referendum that legalized same-sex marriage in Ireland. “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,” says Varadkar.
Varadkar will be voted in as prime minister when Ireland’s Dial parliament next sits on June 13th, 2017. However, there are some concerns that he is relatively inexperienced when compared to the past prime ministers. The Indian-origin politician has been a Teachta Dála (TD) since 2007 (first elected in 2007), currently for the Dublin West constituency. Importantly, he entered Ireland’s political stage when he was just 22. He was elected to parliament at 27 and nine years later, he publicly came out as gay. He has also previously served as Minister for Social Protection from 2016 to 2017, Minister for Health from 2014 to 2016 and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport from 2011 to 2014.