Leo opens up about sta­ble life with Matt

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Emma Jane Hade Po­lit­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent

TAOISEACH Leo Varad­kar opened up about his sta­ble re­la­tion­ship with his partner Dr Matthew Bar­rett, last night, in one of his most re­veal­ing in­ter­views to date.

Mr Varad­kar, who said he is ‘prob­a­bly quite re­served’, ad­mit­ted it was ‘first se­ri­ous re­la­tion­ship’ and that, while ‘it’s great to have some­one un­con­di­tion­ally on your side’, the car­di­ol­o­gist is some­one who can tell him when he is ‘wrong’ and pro­vides sta­bil­ity in his life.

‘And you need to be told some­times when you have got some­thing wrong or you have over re­acted. And he can do that, and I know he is do­ing it out of in­ter­est and out of sup­port for me. It was his first time on the chat show as Taoiseach, and the wide rang­ing in­ter­view also cov­ered his re­la­tion­ships with the lead­ers of the ma­jor op­po­si­tion par­ties, Micheál Martin and Mary Lou McDon­ald.

He also cited hous­ing as be­ing the is­sue which prob­a­bly keeps him up at night.

Mr Varad­kar said: ‘I suppose it de­pends on what is hap­pen­ing in that par­tic­u­lar week, it will prob­a­bly be Brexit next week but I think that the one thing prob­a­bly would be the hous­ing sit­u­a­tion.

‘Not just home­less­ness, but the fact that loads of peo­ple, you know peo­ple in their 30s un­able to buy their first home, fac­ing rent in­creases. And that feeds into other things as well, that feeds into ris­ing wage de­mands and mental health is­sues, yes… food and shel­ter, these are fun­da­men­tal things peo­ple need to have.’

When the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin ap­peared on the same show in re­cent weeks, broad­caster Ryan Tubridy re­called that he said the young Taoiseach was ‘im­ma­ture’.

How­ever, the Taoiseach quipped that Mr Martin is ‘def­i­nitely ma­ture’ as ‘he was elected to the Dáil in the ‘80s I think un­der Char­lie Haughey,’ which drew a round of ap­plause from the au­di­ence.

The Taoiseach ap­pears to share a tetchy re­la­tion­ship with Mary Lou McDon­ald and the pair reg­u­larly steal head­lines with their ver­bal spar­ring matches.

But last night Mr Varad­kar ap­peared to ex­tend the olive branch when he hailed her as ‘in­tel­li­gent’ and ‘very ar­tic­u­late’, and put his pre­vi­ous de­scrip­tion of her as be­ing cranky as ‘a one off’ and part of ‘po­lit­i­cal ban­ter’.

De­spite this, he again firmly ruled out Sinn Féin as ever be­ing a party Fine Gael would go into coali­tion with.

When pushed to talk about the HSE and not the peo­ple who work in it, he con­ceded the HSE is not fit for pur­pose in its cur­rent for­mat – ‘not as the or­gan­i­sa­tion that it is now’, but re­ferred to Sláin­te­care as be­ing the ‘all-party plan’ they have ‘to change that’.

Late Late chat: Leo Varad­kar

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