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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C

Leo Varadkar's first words as Fine Gael leader: 'Prejudice has no hold in this Republic'

The newly elected leader got a rapturous applause in Dublin’s Mansion House. / YouTube

I think if my election as leader of Fine Gael today has shown us anything it is that prejudice has no hold in this Republic…

LEO VARADKAR RECEIVED a sustained round of applause from his party colleagues on uttering those words during his first speech as Fine Gael leader this evening.

Ireland’s likely next Taoiseach, the Dublin TD defeated Simon Coveney in the leadership contest by a 60:40 margin.

With Dublin’s Mansion House packed to the rafters with party members, councillors, TDs and senators – and with both local and international media looking on – Varadkar said his personal story shows that every child in this country can dream big.

His message was clear: Ireland is soon to have a son of an immigrant and a gay man as its leader.

“When my father travelled [to Ireland]… I doubt he ever dreamed that his son would one day grow up to become its leader and despite his differences, his son would be treated the same and judged by his actions and character, and not by his ardents and identity,” he said.

The 38-year-old earlier said that people around the world look to Ireland and are reminded that this isn’t a country where it matters where you come from, “but rather where you want to go”.

And so every proud parent in Ireland today can dream big dreams for their children; every boy and girl can know that there is no limits to their ambition, to their possibilities, if they are given the opportunity.
So let that be our mission as Fine Gael, to build an Ireland – a Republic of opportunity. One which every individual is given the opportunity to meet their full potential and every part of the country is given its opportunity to share in our prosperity.

There have already been numerous reports across the world about Varadkar’s election to the top position in his party.

CNN, Sky News, BBC News, AJ+, India Today and the Telegraph are among the outlets reporting that he is set to become the first openly gay prime minister of Ireland.


Coveney won the backing of 65% of Fine Gael’s grassroots members, but Varadkar took the victory after securing significant support among local representatives and the parliamentary party.

With reporting by Sinéad O’Carroll 

Read: Leo Varadkar is officially the new leader of Fine Gael

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