Hot Press

Leo Takes Over


“I went jogging for many years but never felt the need to alert media photograph­ers and bring them with me. I also occasional­ly wore odd socks… I now realise I should have turned all those things into publicity opportunit­ies. I suppose I made the fundamenta­l mistake of spending too much time drafting legislatio­n and doing other serious stuff.”

Hilariousl­y throwing shade at the newly appointed Taoiseach in the Hot Press interview back in October, Alan Shatter – former

Fine Gael cabinet pal with Mr. Varadkar – kind of pointed out something we’ve come to realise about our new Premier: he doesn’t shy away from the media. Whether it’s posing beside new bestie Justin Trudeau at Canadian Pride, or bashfully professing his love for Love, Actually in 10 Downing Street (to a collective “catch yourself on” from everyone back home), the new Taoiseach has spent 2017 becoming a media darling.

But while the characters of an Armando Iannucci comedy might look at his PR game with envy, the rest of us have been trying to figure out what the hell the man is all about.

Who is Leo Varadkar?

The son of an Indian doctor who immigrated to Ireland in the 1960s and the first openly gay Taoiseach in our history, Leo Varadkar ticks quite a few “liberal/progressiv­e” boxes.

But he’s also staunchly right-wing and his policies in the past have involved aggressive attempts to cut down on welfare fraud.

The issues that he hasn’t addressed, though, have been quite telling. No meaningful action has been taken on the tracker mortgages disaster, tax-dodging from top corporatio­ns, Garda scandals, and worsening homeless figures. And while Mr. Varadkar has been good at making sure he appears strong on things like Brexit, trying to find anything of substance on those other issues listed above will result in a clear FOOTAGE NOT FOUND.

Of course, we’d never accuse Leo Varadkar of being obsessed with spin.

But if the sock fits…

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