Friday 23 August 2019

Varadkar says he is not a 'camera slut' as Kylie letter criticised

Leo Varadkar pictured with Kylie Minogue in Dublin last year
Leo Varadkar pictured with Kylie Minogue in Dublin last year
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

Leo Varadkar has responded to the backlash he received over his letter to Kylie Minogue and to being called a "camera slut" by former justice minister and attorney general Michael McDowell.

Speaking on The Late Late Show on RTE, Mr McDowell said he was "slightly annoyed" that the Taoiseach had written to the pop star, adding: "I thought 'he is a bit of a camera slut'."

He also asked if people could "imagine me in the Department of Justice writing a letter like that? I don't think it would happen". Mr McDowell said the Taoiseach's style of politics "wouldn't be my brand of politics".

Asked how he felt about being called a "camera slut", Mr Varadkar said: "I didn't hear about that until a minute ago. Simon [Harris] told me about it. Interestingly, of course, it relates to a photograph I didn't take and a photograph I didn't post. Somebody else posted it on social media."

On the backlash he has received for writing to the Australian singer, the Taoiseach said: "This is a letter that I spent a minute writing six months ago.

"If they think this is a big story - that's more of a reflection on them than me." Asked if he regretted writing the letter, he said: "No."

Asked if he regretted writing it on official Department of the Taoiseach headed paper, he said: "No."

Mr Varadkar wrote the letter to Kylie ahead of her proposed visit to Dublin last October for a gig in the 3Arena, and offered to give her a personal welcome to the country.

Despite it being an official note, the Taoiseach attempted to prevent the release of the letter on two occasions under Freedom of Information, before finally relenting.

"Dear Kylie, just wanted to drop you a short note in advance of the concert in Dublin," the letter read.

"I am really looking forward to it. Am a huge fan! I understand you are staying in the Merrion Hotel which is just across the street from my office in Government Buildings.

"If you like, I'd love to welcome you to Ireland personally," he added, signing off the letter with "Leo V Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister)".

Following the letter's release, Fianna Fail TD James Lawless said what compounded the fact that the Taoiseach wrote the letter to Kylie was the refusal to release it. He asked: "What has the Taoiseach got to hide?"

Kylie's October gig was subsequently cancelled when the star came down with a throat infection.

However, the Taoiseach did eventually meet her backstage after he attended her rescheduled gig in December last year.

Sunday Independent

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