Leo Varadkar has made the cover of TIME Europe alongside a quote from the Taoiseach labelling Ireland “An island at the centre of the world”.
The way I see Ireland is as an island at the centre of the world.
“Geographically we are at the periphery of Europe,” he said, “but I don’t see Ireland in that way. The way I see us is as an island at the centre of the world.”
Varadkar indicated that he sees his political party as siding with the right on economic issues but being “slightly to the left on other issues”.
Broaching the subject of his sexuality, Duggan asks about the diverging attitudes toward the Taoiseach being gay which appear to have emerged from within Ireland and without.
“I think it has just reflected a change in Irish society that has already happened,” Varadkar said, echoing the sentiment of his speech at Dublin Pride last month.
Rather, Varadkar feels he is standing on the shoulders of brave LGBT+ activists who have paved the way to make a gay man holding his position possible.
Touching on the subject of abortion, Varadkar reaffirmed that having a referendum next year would be achievable, leaving whether it would be in the first or second half of the year up in the air.
The Taoiseach stressed that a lot of effort would need to be put in to refining the question that would be put to the people.
In the interview, Duggan asks Varadkar about his most recent phone call with Trump, which made headlines for the US leader’s bizarre singling out of Irish reporter, Caitríona Perry.
Informing Duggan that that wasn’t his first encounter with Trump, he spoke about a 2011 phone call when he was Minister for Tourism.
I get the impression he is the kind of person who would just pick up the phone and want to ring the man or woman who is in charge
Varadkar recounts how the then businessman bypassed procedure in an attempt to expedite a planning permission issue around his recently purchased golf course in Doonbeg, Clare.
“I get the impression he is the kind of person who would just pick up the phone and want to ring the man or woman who is in charge over there, rather than necessarily going through normal business or diplomatic procedures,” Varadkar said.
“There are plusses and minuses to that.”
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