New book portrays ‘very modern Taoiseach’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was the notable absentee from the well-attended launch of the first biography of him.

New book portrays ‘very modern Taoiseach’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was the notable absentee from the well-attended launch of the first biography of him.

Philip Ryan, left, and Niall O’Connor, joint authors of ‘Leo: A Very Modern Taoiseach’, with Health Minister Simon Harris at the launch of the biography in Dublin.
Philip Ryan, left, and Niall O’Connor, joint authors of ‘Leo: A Very Modern Taoiseach’, with Health Minister Simon Harris at the launch of the biography in Dublin.

His absence, however, did not deter many ministers, advisors, spin doctors, and journalists from making the launch of Leo: A Very Modern Taoiseach.

Written by journalist Philip Ryan and ex-journalist turned Government advisor Niall O’Connor, the book chronicles Mr Varadkar’s formative years and rise to power.

Launching the book at Everleigh Gardens in Dublin city centre, former TV3 political editor Ursula Halligan said that, before she read it, she asked herself what does she not know about Leo.

“What could this book tell me that I did not already know? It turns out, quite a lot. I was introduced to Leo the seven-year-old bragging about wanting to become minister for health. Even at seven, you’d think he’d have more cop-on,” she said to laughter.

To Leo, who had to make peace with his odd surname, his brown skin, his weight, and later, the big one,” she said in reference to his coming out in 2015. “It was his bravery that helped me make my own jump a short while later.

In his comments, Mr Ryan said he and Mr O’Connor never set out to make judgement on Mr Varadkar, but merely to tell his story. Mr O’Connor said the book set out to be a fair and honest account of Mr Varadkar and his career to date.

He paid a moving tribute to his late father Brendan who died last year.

Mr O’Connor left INM this year to become special advisor to minister of state Paul Kehoe.

Among the attendees were ministers Simon Harris, Josepha Madigan, Regina Doherty, John Paul Phelan, Andrew Doyle, Paul Kehoe, and Michael D’Arcy.

Other guests from the current administration included Mr Varadkar’s chief of staff Brian Murphy and the Government press secretary, Nick Miller.

Also present were Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary, academic Kevin Rafter, public relations agent Paul Allen, and celebrity tailor Louis Copeland.

Among the journalists present were Cormac Bourke, Jerome Reilly, Niamh Horan, Paul Williams, Juno McEnroe, Michael Brennan, and Charlie Weston.

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