'Fair play Leo' – Minister Varadkar widely praised for public announcement over sexuality
Health Minister Leo Varadkar has received widespread support following his announcement on RTE Radio this morning that he is gay.
The 36 year-old said that that he wanted to be honest in his situation as a public leader, but said that it did not define him.
"I am a gay man," he told Miriam O'Callaghan. "It's not a secret. I hope it's not a big deal for anyone else - it shouldn't be," he added.
The reaction to the news has been hugely supportive over the Minister's decision, with leading public figures taking to social media to voice their opinion.
"Fair play Leo Varadkar, although the nicest thing is, it hardly seems to be causing any storm," comedian Dara O'Briain tweeted soon after the interview.
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald wished Varadkar a happy birthday and congratulated her fellow TD on the interview, while Jerry Buttimer hoped that like Varadkar said himself, such interviews will not be necessary in time.
As a kid Leo Varadkar told his mother he wanted to be Minister for Health. My daughter just said she wants to be the head of Irish Water.— Ross O'Carroll-Kelly (@RossOCK) January 18, 2015
Hopefully Leo Varadkar's decision will inspire not only the young, but also older gay people... There's never a wrong time to come out— Darren McMahon (@DarrenMcMahon54) January 18, 2015
Great to hear Leo Varadkar giving such an honest and personal insight this morning. Brave.— Cyril McAree (@CyrilMcA) January 18, 2015
Well done to Leo Varadkar. more surprised he's only 36 !
Oh, and fair play Leo Varadkar, although the nicest thing is, it hardly seems to be causing any storm.— Dara Ó Briain (@daraobriain) January 18, 2015
Happy Birthday Leo @campaignforleo. Great interview!— Frances Fitzgerald (@FitzgeraldFrncs) January 18, 2015
Varadkar has become the first openly gay Irish government minister, though Cork TD Buttimer revealed his sexuality three years ago.
"It will hopefully only be a footnote in time," he said.
Conor Cusack, Niall Breslin were among those to offer their support while the public reaction has been hugely supportive.
I'm glad @campaignforleo felt he could finally 'Come out' .. I wish him all the best!— Jim Sheridan (@Jim_Sheridan) January 18, 2015
Leo Varadkar says: 'I am a gay man. That's not a secret' A moment in the story of modern Ireland. Well done @campaignforleo— CormacBourke (@cormacbourke) January 18, 2015
G'wan @campaignforleo though. Such an awesome and brave move that'll give so many people of so many ages hope and confidence.— Stephen (@stphnmlny) January 18, 2015
I've always likes Leo Varadkar, but like him so much more after this interview— Sarah Finn (@finn_say) January 18, 2015
Fair play to @campaignforleo for his courage earlier. A well respected leader coming out in public, has to bode well for those holding back.— Brian Farrell (@Farlo84) January 18, 2015
Respect to Leo Varadkar as he comes out on national radio as being gay, such a candid interview. #mariam— Dougal (@DougalCMK) January 18, 2015
It's a pity that being gay is news but I'm delighted @campaignforleo has come out as hopefully it will help help encourage others— Richard Collumb (@collumbo) January 18, 2015