HEALTH Minister Leo Varadkar texted former Fianna Fail politician Pat Carey to wish him well on his decision to come out as a gay man.
Mr Carey yesterday revealed that he has known about his sexuality for many years and that he told Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin that he was gay in 2011.
But the former cabinet member waited until now before publicly announcing his sexuality due to his concern that the upcoming referendum on same sex marriage will be defeated.
In an interview with the Herald, Mr Carey revealed that he received many positive messages, including one from Mr Varadkar himself.
And he admitted that some people were hurt when he initially came out four years ago, including former minister and close friend Mary Hanafin.
"I did tell her, but I had told other people first, and I know she was offended because I didn't tell her sooner, and it has affected our friendship because of the way I dealt with it, and I'm sorry that happened," he said.
"She was fine about it and just wanted to know if I was sure with my decision, and I told her I couldn't go the grave not doing something about this.
"I hope we renew our friendship in the future," he said.
According to Mr Carey, a former Dublin North West TD, he chose not to speak about his personal life due to his work commitments.
"I just didn't deal with it at all, using the pretext that I was too busy, and when I did deal with it, I grabbed the bull by the horns and contacted my family who were fine," he said.
Speaking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk, Mr Carey said he didn't have the same "courage and confidence" as Mr Varadkar to come out while in office.
"I suppose I was that generation that just got on with things," the 68-year-old told Newstalk's Pat Kenny.
"I have great admiration for Leo," he continued.
"People like him are important role models. He is a different generation, he's a good 30-something years younger than me. He's able to do this for his generation, maybe I can do something for my generation too.
"There's lots of people who were and are in my position that just couldn't find a way of getting the right words."
Mr Carey said he was in the car sitting outside a supermarket when he heard Varadkar's interview with Miriam O'Callaghan.
"I sat in the car on the way into the local Lidl shop and I waited and I said my god, he needs to be applauded," he said.
"There are many other people like him around the place, and women similarly who would love to be more honest with themselves and honest with the public."
Mr Carey said it is "fairly well known" that he is gay.
"Micheal Martin was asking me how I was getting on, I told him I was gay and said 'just in case you heard, I'm gay'. He didn't bat an eyelid."
"It is a lonely existence [being on your own]. I was on my own for years and years.
"It's nice to come home and there be somebody there to say hello and talk about football matches and TV programmes and movies and everything."
However, the former TD said he has concerns about preparations about the upcoming marriage equality referendum.
"There is that danger [to take a yes vote for granted], I wouldn't try and cry wolf now but there is a tendency to take this for granted."