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New gaffe is just one of a growing list

HE SPENT years tongue-lashing Calamity Coughlin for her gaffes, but now Leo Varadkar is building up a bit of a reputation himself.

The Fine Gael 'Young Turk' has a growing list of slip-ups, with the latest being the most serious.

There were early signs, though, that Leo the Lion might be prone to the odd gaffe after a bizarre attack on Bertie Ahern (left) during his first week in the Dail.

Back in 2007, when Ahern was riding high, Varadkar told him that he belonged "in the gutter".

He claimed that the then Taoiseach's tribunal woes would stain his reputation just as the Iraq War had stained Tony Blair's.

In more recent times, he turned on former taoiseach Garret FitzGerald -- the ultimate no-no for a Fine Gael TD.

Last year, the young doctor compared Taoiseach Brian Cowen with the much-revered FitzGerald (right).

In an astonishing outburst, he lashed: "You're no Sean Lemass, you're no Jack Lynch and you're no John Bruton.

"You're a Garret FitzGerald. You've trebled the national debt, you've effectively destroyed the country and now you've a dirty, wasteful botch job of a reshuffle," he said, adding: "And it's the last thing you do, so enjoy writing your boring articles in The Irish Times in a few years."

Leo also landed in hot water during his time as FG enterprise spokesman when he suggested that unemployed immigrants should be paid to go home.

The Dublin West representative proposed that they should be offered six months' worth of dole money in return for going back to their own country.