Leo Varadkar sparks row over DJ move

Leo Varadkar sparks row over DJ move

Leo Varadkar’s venture into the world of broadcasting as a DJ has sparked a war of words, writes Daniel McConnell.

The Social Protection Minister has been lined up as a guest presenter on RTÉ’s Late Date over the Christmas period, but the announcement has been greeted with some derision.

Willie O’Dea, Mr Varadkar’s opposite number in Fianna Fáil, was yesterday scathing in his criticism of the minister’s venture.

“He has crafted a role for himself as resident chat show panellist and a sort of celebrity political commentator, where he muses on how terrible things are, and how something should be done. When it comes to actual political accountability and having a vision for the department he is responsible for, he is nowhere to be seen,” Mr O’Dea said.

“This has now been taken to a whole new level, as we learn that he is to take up a role as some sort of stand-in late night DJ on RTÉ. The country is suffering from truly shocking levels of deprivation and the Social Protection Minister is planning to take on a radio show,” he said.

Mr Varadkar will be among the guest presenters on RTÉ Radio 1’s Late Date music show this Christmas. GAA pundit Joe Brolly and comedian Deirdre O’Kane will also present the show.

“If it was anyone else, it would be called out and ridiculed as an unprecedented self-promoting absurdity. But it’s no problem for Leo Varadkar. Indeed, it is a natural progression for the most hands-off minister in modern times,” said Mr O’Dea. The veteran Limerick TD suggested that Mr Varadkar and RTE enjoy an “apparent special relationship”.

“Leo Varadkar’s apparent special relationship with RTÉ has been the subject of wonder in political circles for some time. The news that he is to join the broadcasting staff would appear to only confirm that,” said Mr O’Dea.

The attack led Mr Varadkar to respond in equally withering terms on Twitter: “Ah chill Willie. It’ll be the week after Xmas & the graveyard shift. You’re most welcome to ring in a request if you like.”

Mr O’Dea’s attack did not impress new Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West Noel Rock. He took to social media to pour scorn on Mr O’Dea: “Here we go again. Personal attacks out of nowhere on Leo. You’d think they were scared of him,” he tweeted.

Mr Varadkar, 37, told Kathryn Thomas that he hasn’t decided on his musical selections yet.”


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