Ireland's likely next PM would be first gay, minority leader

The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that a ban on asylum seekers looking for work is unconstitutionalMARK STEDMAN

The fiercely Catholic country, which only legalized homosexuality in 1993 and introduced divorce shortly thereafter, was the first country to legalize same sex marriage by popular vote, with an overwhelming majority.

Leo Varadkar is on track to take over the leadership of Ireland's ruling Fine Gael Party today, making him the next Taoiseach or Prime Minister.

He beat his rival - Housing Minister Simon Coveney - with 60% of the votes to lead the center-right Fine Gael party.

Mr. Kenny took over as leader of the party in 2002 and was first elected Taoiseach in 2011.

The new taoiseach is not expected to be formally confirmed until June 13 when the Dail parliament resumes following a week-long break.

Elected Fine Gael politicians and ordinary members had been voting throughout the week for their new party leader.

He had faced repeated calls to stand aside after six years in government.

But there are limits to the country's newfound tolerance, and early in his campaign for the party leadership Varadkar said he hoped his sexuality would not be an issue.

Varadkar, 38, will officially take over as Taoiseach, as the Irish prime ministerial title is known in Ireland, in Parliament later this month after he was declared the victor in the leadership race for the Fine Gael party.

Varadkar's media-savvy charisma, grass-roots campaign strategy and ability to appeal to both urban and rural voters placed him in the best position to become the country's next leader, analysts said.

"I think if my election as leader of Fine Gael today has shown anything, it is that prejudice has no hold in this Republic", he said, to applause and cheering at Dublin's Mansion House.

Kenny, 66, resigned as party leader in May and will remain as head of the government until the Irish parliament returns.

Mr Varadkar, who came out as gay in the run up to the 2015 same-sex marriage referendum, has been in charge of the welfare system.

Varadkar joined Fine Gael in secondary school and contested the 1999 local elections in the Mulhuddart area aged just 20.

The former Minister for Social Protection has only visited his father's homeland once, aged 14. "When he was sports minister, he accompanied the Irish cricket team to Mumbai".

Varadkar, a doctor educated at Trinity College Dublin, entered Irish politics in 2004, when he polled nearly 5,000 votes in a local government election in the Dublin West constituency.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Theresa May slammed for no-show in noisy and ill-tempered election debate
Jun 03, 2017 - 05:33
Mr Corbyn responded that Mrs May and other senior Conservatives had voted against anti-terror laws in 2005. She might be out there sizing up your house to pay for your social care.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Curry, Durant power Warriors past Cavs in Game 1, 113-91
Jun 03, 2017 - 05:31
They still have a deep lineup, but now the Cavs have brought in some other players to compete . Not even a 3-1 deficit previous year was enough to faze him.

Huma Abedin Files for Divorce
Jun 02, 2017 - 02:14
The divorce action, labeled "anonymous versus anonymous", was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, the Associated Press reported. Abedin, a top aide to former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton , was not present at Friday's hearing.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Germany and China should cooperate on protecting climate - Merkel
Jun 02, 2017 - 02:12
Sensing its moment, China is set to capitalise by taking a leadership role on a key global issue for the first time. While he did not mention the United States or Donald Trump, Mr Li's comments were clearly addressed to Washington.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Ander Herrera states his prediction for Man United v Ajax
Jun 02, 2017 - 02:07
He told Manchester Evening News: 'He was just saying be calm, be composed and go and play your normal game and enjoy it. I think for the kids it will be a big occasion, it will always be good experience for them.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Bounty hunters, fugitive die in shootout at Texas auto dealership
Jun 02, 2017 - 01:47
The Nissan dealership owner says the two men arrived Tuesday afternoon identifying themselves as federal agents. The dealership owner, Rick Ford, said two of the men waited several hours for the third man to arrive. "Mr.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Top Trump aide exits as wider White House overhaul expected
Jun 01, 2017 - 01:18
Dubke was the rare Trump newcomer in a White House in which personal relationships and proximity to the president are the currency.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top John Clayton out at ESPN, but staying on Seattle radio
Jun 01, 2017 - 01:16
The Sporting News report notes that KIRO is owned by Bonneville International, and licenses the ESPN name. Credit to the Hall of Fame writer, as he went out thanking his former co-workers on his way out the door.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top NDP prepares for chance at governing
May 31, 2017 - 06:34
After the final election count, the BC Liberals and BC NDP were separated by just under 1,600 votes in the popular vote. The agreement would allow the second place NDP to form a minority government with the support of the Green party.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top PS Plus June 2017 Lineup Reportedly Leaked By PlayStation Turkey
May 30, 2017 - 06:31
Now, Sony has announced that the 500GB PlayStation 3 , the last remaining model left in production , will cease in Japan. All the PlayStation Vita fans can still have access to Laser Disco Defenders and Type: Rider via the Cross-buy feature.

Moody's downgrades China's credit rating citing concerns over its growing debt
May 30, 2017 - 06:27
Moody's also cut the rating of 26 state-owned enterprises by one notch, shortly after the main sovereign downgrade. The figures were arguably high compared to some developing countries in the West, but are inches below Japan's.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top LeBron James overtakes Michael Jordan for most playoff points in National Basketball Association history
May 30, 2017 - 06:25
According to ESPN Stats & Information, James will enter the Finals as an underdog for the sixth time in eight career appearances. Much more of that sort of that will likely follow over the next week, filling time before Golden State plays host to Game 1.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Iran's president criticizes US after Trump's sharp words
May 29, 2017 - 09:01
The turnout for this election was historic and unpresented with more than 40 million ballots cast in the presidential race. Ironically, their views are supported by the US government, which sees Iran as a threat, no matter who is in power.

Greek deal on debt relief founders as talks stretch until June
May 28, 2017 - 02:17
Hopes were high that the deadlock could be broken after Greek lawmakers last Thursday adopted a new round of additional, painful austerity measures.

England all-rounder Stokes passed fit for second Proteas ODI
May 28, 2017 - 02:11
The ODI series between England and South Africa is taking place days before the start of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. Stokes, from Cockermouth, scored 25 at Headingley in England's 72-run victory on Wednesday as they posted 339 for six.