Sunday 24 September 2017

Are the 40pc 'dinosaurs' ready for a gay taoiseach?

Leo Varadkar is favourite among the bookies and the media to become the next Fine Gael leader, but his ascension is far from certain

Man in waiting: Leo Varadkar. 'Star quality is an indefinable thing... and Leo has it right now' Photo: Gerry Mooney
Man in waiting: Leo Varadkar. 'Star quality is an indefinable thing... and Leo has it right now' Photo: Gerry Mooney
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

For many there is almost an inevitability about Leo Varadkar becoming the next leader of Fine Gael and thus, all things being equal, the next taoiseach. Even Leo himself seems to feel that momentum. We have heard very little out of him about his actual ministerial job over the last few months, but we have heard many leader-style pronouncements out of him, about the direction of the party and the government. At times he seems to speak as the de facto leader of Fine Gael, or as if he in some way embodies the party.

This contrasts starkly with poor old 'earnest', 'boring' Simon Coveney, who has been toiling away deep in the housing mess. When Simon has an outing, it usually involves listing off lots of facts and figures about what he is doing about housing. It's all very worthy, but it's not half as glamorous and exciting as Leo.

You wonder sometimes does Coveney feel like Frank Grimes, Homer Simpson's foil in one episode of The Simpsons. Grimey, as Homer christened him, was a good man, a conscientious man, who did things properly. Homer was a messer, but everyone loved him. It drove Grimey crazy that Homer was rewarded for doing nothing, while Grimey never got rewarded for being a good man who does his job.

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