69 Facts About Leo Varadkar


Leo Eric Varadkar is an Irish politician who has served as Taoiseach since December 2022, and previously from 2017 to 2020.


Leo Varadkar served as Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment from June 2020 to December 2022.


Leo Varadkar has been Leader of Fine Gael since June 2017, and a Teachta Dala for the Dublin West constituency since 2007.


Leo Varadkar previously served under Taoiseach Enda Kenny 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.


Leo Varadkar spent several years as a non-consultant hospital doctor, eventually qualifying as a general practitioner in 2010.


Leo Varadkar was elected to Dail Eireann for the first time in 2007.


Leo Varadkar is Ireland's first, and the world's fifth, openly gay head of government and the first Taoiseach to be from an ethnic minority in Ireland.


In 2020, Leo Varadkar called a general election held in February.


Leo Varadkar was appointed Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.


Per the same agreement, Leo Varadkar returned as Taoiseach in December 2022, with Martin being appointed Tanaiste.


Leo Varadkar's father was born in Bombay, India, and moved to the United Kingdom in the 1960s, to work as a doctor.


Leo Varadkar's mother, born in Dungarvan, County Waterford, met her future husband while working as a nurse in Slough.


Leo Varadkar was educated at the St Francis Xavier national school in Blanchardstown and then The King's Hospital, a Church of Ireland secondary school in Palmerstown.


Leo Varadkar was admitted to Trinity College Dublin, where he briefly read law before switching to its School of Medicine.


Leo Varadkar was selected for the Washington Ireland Program for Service and Leadership, a half-year personal and professional development program in Washington, DC, for students from Ireland.


Leo Varadkar graduated in 2003, after completing his internship at KEM Hospital in Mumbai.


Leo Varadkar then spent several years working as a non-consultant hospital doctor in St James's Hospital and Connolly Hospital, before specialising as a general practitioner in 2010.


Leo Varadkar was twenty years old and a second-year medical student when he unsuccessfully contested the 1999 local elections in the Mulhuddart local electoral area.


Leo Varadkar was co-opted to Fingal County Council in 2003, for the Castleknock local electoral area, as a replacement for Sheila Terry.


Leo Varadkar was elected to Dail Eireann at the 2007 general election as a Fine Gael TD for the Dublin West constituency.


The heave was not successful, but in the aftermath, Leo Varadkar was able to repair his relationship with Kenny.


At the 2011 general election, Leo Varadkar was re-elected to Dail Eireann, with 8,359 first-preference votes.


When Fine Gael formed a coalition government with the Labour Party, Leo Varadkar was appointed Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport on 9 March 2011.


In May 2011, Leo Varadkar suggested Ireland was "very unlikely" to resume borrowing in 2012 and might need a second bailout, causing jitters on international markets about Ireland's credibility.


Leo Varadkar said that reaction to the story was hyped up but that he was not misquoted.


Leo Varadkar was returned to the Dail at the 2016 general election.


On 2 June 2017, Leo Varadkar was elected leader of Fine Gael, defeating Simon Coveney.


Leo Varadkar became Ireland's first openly gay Taoiseach, as well as the youngest; however, he is not the youngest head of an Irish government, as both Eamon de Valera and Michael Collins were younger on assuming their respective offices in revolutionary governments prior to the establishment of the state.


Leo Varadkar is the first head of government who is of half-Indian descent.


Leo Varadkar said that the government would lay out a road map for achieving a low carbon economy.


Shortly after this, Leo Varadkar appointed former leadership rival and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney as Tanaiste, Heather Humphreys as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Josepha Madigan as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, in a small reshuffle of the cabinet.


Leo Varadkar stated he was "surprised and disappointed" the UK could not reach a deal.


Leo Varadkar stated he had received guarantees from the UK there would be no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.


Leo Varadkar later said he and his cabinet had "achieved all we set out to achieve" during the talks before quoting former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, by saying "This is not the end but it is the end of the beginning".


Irish Times columnist Pat Leahy claimed Leo Varadkar had ended 2017 "on a high" and IrishCentral called it the Taoiseach's "finest hour".


Leo Varadkar said he would campaign for liberalising the laws, saying his mind was changed by difficult cases during his tenure as Minister for Health.


Leo Varadkar was included in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2018.


On 24 January 2019, Leo Varadkar said in an interview with Euronews he was standing firm on the Irish backstop and called Brexit an act of self-harm that was not fully thought through.


Leo Varadkar said the technology promised by the Brexiteers to solve the Northern Ireland border issue "doesn't yet exist".


On 14 January 2020, Varadkar sought a dissolution of the 32nd Dail, which was granted by President Michael D Higgins, and scheduled a general election for 8 February.


In that election, Leo Varadkar was re-elected in the Dublin West constituency, but Fine Gael fell to 35 seats, 15 fewer than in 2016, and falling to third place behind Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein.


Leo Varadkar added that Fine Gael was "willing to step back" to allow Sinn Fein, as the winner of the popular vote, to have the first opportunity to form a government.


Leo Varadkar said the coalition deal proposed the "most fiscally conservative arrangements in a generation".


Leo Varadkar was appointed as Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment by his successor, Micheal Martin.


On 31 October 2020, Village published an article alleging that Leo Varadkar had leaked confidential documents, including a draft contract between the Health Service Executive and general practitioners that was agreed but still subject to acceptance by GPs at the time, and officially unavailable to members of the Oireachtas.


Leo Varadkar said that the provision of the agreement by an informal communication channel was not best practice.


Leo Varadkar apologised in the Dail for "errors of judgement" in sharing a copy of the contract, and rejected any suggestion that he had anything to gain personally from giving the IMO document to the NAGP president as "false and deeply offensive".


On 17 December 2022, Varadkar was appointed as Taoiseach for a second time, following Micheal Martin's resignation to President Michael D Higgins.


On 13 April 2023, Leo Varadkar met with US President Joe Biden at Farmleigh House during his four-day visit to the island of Ireland.


Just one week into his role as a TD, Leo Varadkar branded sitting Taoiseach Bertie Ahern "cunning and devious" in the Dail.


In 2017, Irish Times columnist Stephen Collins described Leo Varadkar as "coming across to the public, especially younger voters, as if he is not a politician at all".


In 2022, the political magazine the Phoenix suggested that in 2010 Leo Varadkar was the ideological leader of a "hard-right" faction within Fine Gael who unsuccessfully sought to replace leader Enda Kenny with Richard Bruton, but over the course of the next decade Leo Varadkar was brought further and further into the political centre.


In 2011, Leo Varadkar cited Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary as the Irish person he most admired due to his forthrightness, and Otto von Bismarck as a historic figure he admired, crediting Bismarck as a conservative who was able to enact social reforms.


In 2021 Leo Varadkar gave a dedicated lecture on Noel Browne to students of Trinity College Dublin, in which he summarised Browne's career.


Leo Varadkar noted Browne's cantankerous reputation but generally praised Browne, with Leo Varadkar stating that he always "admired his idealism, his passion, and his determination to stand up for the causes and the people he believed in".


Leo Varadkar is a proponent of tax cuts and welfare reform, and is a supporter of investment in Ireland by multinational corporations such as Apple Inc, alongside keeping Ireland's corporate tax rate low.


Leo Varadkar is a supporter of CETA, a proposed free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union.


However, Leo Varadkar has faced opposition to many aspects of the agreement, not just from opposition parties, but members of his own government coalition, especially members of the Green party who object in particular to a proposed "investment court" system.


However, following his public acknowledgement in January 2015 that he was a gay man, Leo Varadkar began advocating for same-sex marriage during the national debate in the prelude to the 2015 referendum on same-sex marriage.


However, by 2014, Leo Varadkar had changed his position and began arguing in the Dail in favour of abortion up to 12 weeks, and more if the mother's life was in danger.


In 2010, Leo Varadkar was an advocate of a scheme in which immigrants to Ireland would be paid to return to their country of origin.


Leo Varadkar suggested that at the time of the Nice Treaty referendums in Ireland in the early 2000s, the public were told there would not be large-scale immigration to Ireland in the aftermath, but this was not the case, before further suggesting that Ireland had not been suitably prepared for the amount of immigration it experienced during the Celtic Tiger period.


In June 2022, Leo Varadkar personally began hosting a Ukrainian refugee in his home.


In January 2023, Leo Varadkar announced that his government would be looking at ways to strengthen border control against illegal immigration.


Leo Varadkar is the first Irish government leader of partly Indian origin and has visited India on a number of occasions.


Leo Varadkar completed his medical internship at KEM Hospital in his father's childhood city of Mumbai.


Leo Varadkar was a prominent advocate of the same-sex marriage referendum.


Leo Varadkar's partner, Matthew Barrett, is a doctor at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.


In 2017, Leo Varadkar completed a course in professional Irish, and devised an Irish language form for his surname, de Varad.