Monday 20 November 2017

'I can't even go for a pint ... I'm just too feckin' well known'

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

HIS career may be on a stellar rise, but the youngest minister in the Cabinet can't even go out for a pint.

Leo Varadkar says his social life has turned into a nightmare since his appointment as Transport, Tourism and Sport Minister.

"It's totally dead. It's awful actually. It's really awful. It's actually very hard to go out because I'm just too feckin' well known," the single 32-year-old told the Irish Independent.

"Pubs, nightclubs are desperate, especially people with a bit of drink on them. They want to talk to you and introduce you to their friends. Ah, it's just a nightmare. A feckin' nightmare. I've to leave the country to get peace."

The Trinity College graduate is also amused by some of the negative comments his appointment as Sports Minister has generated.

The highlights of his sporting career were playing a bit in school and lining out in the second row for the Oireachtas rugby team. But he insists he does work out and run a lot.

"I ran 10km through the park on Sunday and went to the gym," he said.

In government, Mr Varadkar's reputation as the scourge of the left has taken a battering -- as he becomes something of a Labour luvvie. He has praised Fine Gael's coalition partners in the Labour Party for their tough stance on the public sector.

A series of Labour ministers, Eamon Gilmore, Brendan Howlin, Pat Rabbitte and Ruairi Quinn, have warned of further public sector pay cuts if reforms are not delivered.

One of Mr Varadkar's first duties as a minister was a St Patrick's Day visit to India.

His return as an Irish minister to the home country of his father, Dr Ashok Varadkar, captured some attention.

"I got on the TV over there. Their equivalent of 'The Week In Politics'. . . So hopefully I can use it as an advantage as well," he said.

On the tourism front, Mr Varadkar sees the visit of Queen Elizabeth next month as important for the British market.

And he warmly welcomes her visit to Croke Park.

"I'm delighted she's doing it," he said. "I think what's probably of more significance is her going to the two war memorial parks in Islandbridge, recognising our hidden history of hundreds of thousands of people fighting for the British Crown and then the other side of our history of revolution and kicking the Brits out.

"But I'm delighted she's going to Croke Park and delighted she is going to the Guinness Hops Store. I'm not sure if she'll sip a pint."

Irish Independent

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