When did Leo Varadkar become Taoiseach, what has he said about the Ireland abortion referendum result and who’s his partner Matthew Barrett?

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IRELAND made history when the nation voted overwhelmingly to overhaul draconian abortion laws.
Yes campaigners celebrated wildly after the result was announced, with Taiseach Leo Varadkar speaking of his joy – here’s was you need to know about him…

Leo Varadkar casts his vote in the abortion referendum
PA:Press Association

When did Leo Varadkar become Taoiseach?

Mr Varadkar, 38, became Ireland’s political leader on June 14, 2017.

He was appointed on a 57-50 vote with 47 abstentions.

He is the firstly openly gay Taoiseach and the youngest.

One of Varadkar’s first acts as Taoiseach was to announce a referendum on abortion for 2018.

What did he say about Ireland’s abortion referendum?

Mr Varadkar said he would campaign for the Yes vote, saying he had changed his mind after reviewing a case as Minister for Health.

The Taoiseach said that the vote marked a culmination of a “quiet revolution” that has taken place over the last few decades.

Mr Varadkar said: “What we see is the culmination of a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Ireland over the past couple of decades.
“The public have spoken. The result appears to be resounding in favour of repealing the eighth amendment.

The Taoiseach (centre) campaigned for the Yes vote
PA:Press Association

“It’s possible even that we could carry every constituency in the country, men and women, almost every age group and every social class.”

He added: “We will have a modern Constitution for a modern country.”

He added that the plan was to get the legislation enacted by the end of the year, saying the fact the result was clear made this easier.

Who’s his partner Matthew Barrett?

eo Varadkar’s partner Matthew Barrett at Aras an Uachtarain in Dublin
PA:Press Association

Dr Matthew Barrett is a cardiologist currently working in Chicago, USA.

He previously worked in the cardiology department at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin where he is highly regarded for his work as a specialist registrar.

They are said to be in a serious relationship although they are not married.

The pair are said to have holidayed together and met each other’s families and even shared a joint birthday party.

Mr Varadkar celebrated his 38th birthday party at Dublin hipster bar Hacienda with friends, family and his other half.

The birthday duo were presented with a cake that had ‘Happy Birthday Leo and Matt’ written in icing.

So far they do not have any children.

They have been in a relationship for around three years.

They have tended to keep their relationship out of the media spotlight.

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What is his position on the backstop?

Varadkar has always held the position that there is a need for a backstop – a safety net if there is no Brexit trade deal –  as UK Prime Minister Theresa May is set to meet him on February 8.

She will meet the Taoiseach over dinner to resolve the dispute, which is still one of the biggest hurdles in negotiations.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will hold talks in the Irish capital with his Irish counterpart, Seamus Woulfe.

Mr Cox has been leading work within Whitehall on providing either a time limit on the backstop or giving the UK an exit mechanism from it.

Both proposals have received a dusty response from Dublin, which insists the backstop cannot be time limited if it is to provide an effective “insurance policy” against the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

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