Monday 23 September 2019

Anna Nolan: 'It's like Leo had a wish-list of fun things he would do when he became Taoiseach'

Leo Varadkar, his partner Matt Barrett and pals met Kylie backstage at her gig at the 3Arena in Dublin last December
Leo Varadkar, his partner Matt Barrett and pals met Kylie backstage at her gig at the 3Arena in Dublin last December
Swedish DJ, remixer and record producer Avicii (Amy Sussman/AP)
Always looking forward: Leo Varadkar with French prime minister Justin Trudeau.

Anna Nolan

I once wrote to Tony Hart. For those of you who don't remember Take Hart, it was a children's art programme on BBC1.

I had drawn a big colourful fish and wanted it to be included in the programme.

I adored Take Hart. It was on at a time when I was home after school and my mother would be in the kitchen while I was watching the likes of Crackerjack, Bagpuss or this show.

I never heard from Tony. I watched week after week to see if my big fish was in the gallery, but it never was.

I didn't really mind that I never heard from him and, looking back, I find it quite endearing that I wrote to someone I admired when I was only seven.

It turns out our Taoiseach also wrote to one of his idols. Last year. Awwww, bless.

He wrote to Kylie Minogue a few months before his 40th birthday, asking if they could hang out. Or, as he put it, "welcome her to Ireland personally".

She was staying a few doors down from his work place, sure it would take no time to do The Locomotion from Government Buildings to the Merrion Hotel.

Our Taoiseach loves the old dance music. He sent a message to the world, in the form of a tweet, when the DJ Avicii died.

He loved Wake Me Up (not to be confused with the Wham version) and it seemingly got him through the Camino in 2013.

I cannot tell you how "morto" I am for Leo that he wrote to the Australian queen of pop, on headed paper, as Taoiseach of this country, to tell her how big a fan he was of hers and how much he was looking forward to the gig.

Surely he could have said this to her at the concert, face to face. It's not that I have an issue with his choice of music, I'm in the same boat. But come on. Maybe leave the headed paper for the official business.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada who was presented with an Irish Rugby jersey by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D. at Farmleigh House in Dublin.
Photo: Julien Behal Photography
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada who was presented with an Irish Rugby jersey by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D. at Farmleigh House in Dublin. Photo: Julien Behal Photography

I don't know if people are outraged by this letter. I have been going through Twitter and I think that mostly they are a little bemused by it all.

It's like Leo had a wish-list of fun things he would do when he became Taoiseach:

1. I'm going to write to Kylie Minogue;

2. I'm going to have burger and chips with an Irish sports team (scrap that one);

3. I'm going to wear funny socks.

It's not that any of these actions are malicious or detrimental to the welfare of our nation.

It's more like there's a touch of the film Big going on here. I wonder if he has put pinball machines in his office and an enormous keyboard on the floor, so he and Simon Coveney can play chopsticks of a Friday afternoon.

To be brutally honest, I feel it is perhaps a little creepy. Like when Rory McIlroy played golf with President Trump and we all went mad.

How dare he? How outrageous! But what was the man to do? You cannot really turn down an invitation from Potus.

I suppose Kylie had to make that decision, weighing up whether the head of the Irish Government would be offended.

It will be interesting to see who our Taoiseach reaches out to next. Clean Bandit, watch out!

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