38-year-old Leo Varadkar has made history by becoming Ireland’s first openly gay Prime Minister, which marks a significant step forward for equality in the once-staunchly Catholic country.
Leo Varadkar edged out rival Simon Coveney with 60% of the votes to become the country’s next Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and lead Fine Gael, which is currently the governing and largest party in Ireland.
He will succeed 66-year-old Enda Kenny, who was elected as Taoiseach in 2011, and has led Fine Gael for 15 years.
Following his win, the new Prime Minister said: “If my election shows anything it’s that prejudice has no hold in this Republic. When my father travelled 5,000 miles to build a new home in Ireland, I doubt he ever dreamed his son would grow up to be its leader.
“Any child growing up in Ireland now, I hope, looks at me and my unlikely story and my background, and everything about me, and perhaps says to themselves, that there is no office in this state that I can’t aspire to, nothing that they can’t do if they believe in themselves.”