When Leo Varadkar’s Indian father, Ashok, moved to Ireland in the 1970s, he chose one of Western Europe’s most socially conservative countries to call home.
Thirty-eight years later, his youngest child became the once-staunchly Catholic country’s first openly gay prime minister, its first of Indian descent and the youngest person ever to hold the office.
Varadkar’s election in parliament on Wednesday, 10 days after he succeeded Enda Kenny as leader of the governing Fine ..
The fact the milestone of electing a gay premier is barely mentioned in local media and has taken place — in the words of one former government minister — “without anybody batting an eyelid” shows just how far Ireland has come.
Instead, after six years of Kenny’s steady stewardship, the focus has been on the stark change of style likely to follow the election of a minister known as a straight talker. Colleagues giddily proclaim that their new leader has the ‘X Factor’.