The nation is is in shock following health minister, Leo Varadkar’s revelations concerning his personal life.
It’s not a secret, he said. I don’t try to hide it but I don’t make a big deal about it either. It’s just part of who I am. Many of my colleagues in the Dáil know I’m only 36. I’ve never hidden it from my friends or family. My parents have known my age for quite a long time. Thirty-six years, in fact. They’re ok with it.
How did he tell party leader, Enda Kenny?
Look, Varadkar says, Enda doesn’t worry about these things. Obviously he was a bit rattled but he said, Leo you’re the same guy I knew before you told me this. It’s true I thought you were 58, but your age is your own business. Then he gave me a manly punch on the shoulder and he cried a little.
You’d be surprised how many in the Dáíl are secretly under 40, and I think it’s very sad that they can’t just come out and say it. They might be amazed how accepting people can be.
So, why reveal it now?
Well, there’s a referendum coming up to lower the age limit for the presidency, and now that I’m old enough to qualify, I don’t need to keep quiet about it any more. Nobody will be saying I have a hidden agenda if I campaign for the change.
What sort of backlash does he expect?
I feel privileged to live in a society where nobody cares about your age, apart from a few extremists, but you’ll find them everywhere.