Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Ireland's new prime minister formally takes power

Ireland's new prime minister formally takes power

"When I came to know that my younger brother's son is elected as Prime Minister of Ireland, I was so happy that a boy of 38 years old becomes the Prime Minister of any country", Leo's Uncle Manohar Varadkar, who is also a freedom fighter, said.

Outgoing Prime Minister Enda Kenny - who, now age 66, was first elected to parliament before Varadkar had even been born - endorsed Varadkar, saying that he represents a younger generation.

He will face immediate challenges due to Britain's exit from the European Union, a political crisis in Northern Ireland and a housing crisis at home.

"It is striking that the strong support which this record won him in his parliamentary party was not reflected in the much broader membership of Fine Gael."

After the new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, announced his new team, O'Sullivan said she was disheartened to see there is now "one less woman sitting around the Cabinet table at a time when we should be promoting women".

Mr Varadkar also vowed a "genuine willingness" to work together with all parties "on matters relating to Northern Ireland and matters outside the State".

Varadkar is the son of an Indian immigrant, and had previously worked as a doctor before entering Irish politics.

The government I lead will be one of the new European center as we seek to build a republic of opportunity.

He will be nominated as Taoiseach in the Dáil on Wednesday, before he travels to meet President Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin, where he will be given his seal of office.

14/6/2017 Leo Varadkar is elected Taoiseach.

Despite Varadkar's firsts, Irish media and voters are "not obsessed about his sexuality or his racial origins", The Guardian's Henry McDonald tells NPR's Ari Shapiro.

While analysts expect few major policy shifts from Varadkar and his new cabinet, the new Fine Gael leader has hinted at some changes.

In a coming-out speech he gave in a radio interview, he had said, "It's not something that defines me".

Mr Varadkar joins Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel as the only other openly gay world leader. Already his opponents are warning that the former health, tourism and social protection minister has plans to move the government further to the right.

Like this: