‘Certain Photographers Were Keeping An Eye On His Movements’



Health Minister Leo Vardakar

Irish Times columnist Miram Lord writes:

“Leo’s brave declaration will also put a stop to the gallop of the gossipmongers.
It is true that certain media organisations have been itching to “out” him. Queries were regularly submitted to his department seeking information about his personal life. Certain photographers were keeping an eye on his movements. He had to time his announcement between health controversies. He had a small window of opportunity yesterday. For those aware of where his interview was heading, it made for difficult listening.”




Miriam Lord: Brave Leo Varadkar gives it to us straight (Irish Times)

Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland


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97 thoughts on “‘Certain Photographers Were Keeping An Eye On His Movements’

  1. Soundings

    Apart from those Sun pics of Sharon Ni Irishname in her PJs looking Lower Gardiner Street, what Irish photographer has managed to get any sort of intrusive pic in the last decade?

    It just doesn’t happen. The bogeyman under the bed is not the media in Ireland, it’s too impoverished and browbeaten.

    1. PaddyIrishMan

      It’s funny to laugh at someone whose name is in the language of the country they live in, isn’t it?


      1. Clampers Outside!

        No, it’s not funny that the gaelgoirs insisted on teaching the language as a first language instead of a second. It is because of that that you see people not bother their arse with the language, because the gaelgoirs fupped up the teaching of it for decades by forcing it down peoples throats instead of teaching it as a useful language for daily use.

        Any fool knows that.

          1. Joe835

            Ah the “you’re obviously a troll” comment, first line of recourse for those who can’t consider an alternative strategy for Irish language here!

          1. Clampers Outside!

            No it’s not. It is largely accepted that the teaching methods around Irish have contributed to its downfall.

            Cop on. I’m not anti-Irish, I’m anti-wasting-money. Teach it properly and make better use of the money. The current teaching is a joke.

      2. Disasta

        It is not the language of the country and hasn’t been for a long while. By that logic one could suggest the language of the US is native “Indian” languages but it’s not.

        1. Nigel

          Well, it is, really, but it’s been suppressed and oppressed, and as in so many things when it comes to suppressing and oppressing Irish things we’re even better at it than anyone else. I love English, so please understand there’s no value judgement when I say ‘Irish is our language.’ It just is, for better or worse. The fact that it’s in its current state is a testament to how we, as a nation and a culture, treat the things that are ours. That IS a value judgement.

          1. Clampers Outside!

            Eh no, the state of the Irish language today is down to teaching at as a first language to people who could barely utter anything past asking to go to the toilet.

            That IS a fact.

          2. ahjayzis

            Absolute apologist bullshit. The GAA alone proves that. Trad music. Catholicism’s death grip on society. If anything we hang on to things far past their sell-by date. Have a look at the secondary Irish curriculum and compare it to those of foreign languages. One is an appreciation of the finer points of poetry and the other is how to actually speak a language.

            Don’t play that tired card of thinking the people who lambast the country’s policy and denial around Irish hate the language, it’s actually the opposite in most cases.

            Saying our former first language is STILL our first language because it WAS our first language is akin to saying our national dress is peasant garb and sackcloth and that the capital city is Confederate Kilkenny, since that was oppressed and put down also.

            It’s the very defnition of doublethink, to claim that a people who converse, consume media, think, write and sing MASSIVELY more in English than in Irish are actually doing all that in a second language. And it’s the nail in the languages coffin that we have people like you who think ‘job done’ when any idiot can see it’s in rag order.

          3. Nigel

            I didn’t say it was our first language. I didn’t say it should be our first language. Nor did I say you hate the language, though given the tone of your comments you certainly don’t have a gra for it, and your linking it to poverty and ignorance is hardly a new attitude. English was associated with the wealthy and Irish with the poor. Why we should seek to emulate this irrational pattern of association, I don’t know. I acknowledge that it is dying, and that after nearly a hundred years of self rule we are as much to blame for this as anyone. It is dying. I regret that it is dying. English is certainly our first language and it is a good language to have in this modern world. Please do not misrepresent what I say again, in any language, and if you want to have an argument against someone who says the things you said I say, then go find that person.

        2. Ciarán

          THEY’RE NOT?!
          I’ve just spent a year learning several native Indian languages because I want to get a naturalisation to live and work permanently in the US.

          Why did nobody tell me!!

          Ah for f**k s*ke…

      3. ahjayzis

        English is the language of Ireland, primarily and firstly.

        That’s apparent to anyone who doesn’t have an ideological barrier to admitting it or someone who makes a living off the absurd doublethink that it’s both true and visibly/audibly a lie.

        Clampers nailed it. I remember having to memorise the themes present in a poem about a dead seagull when I couldn’t order dinner in the language.

        1. Joe the Lion

          Such a stupid remark – it’s a shame really the IMF didn’t use actual bulldozers to erase society here. Would have been better to bury all the dopes and dumbasses in a big hole and start over

          1. ahjayzis

            I too would like an explanation as to why what I said was stupid aside from the fact “ara sher dats hereshical altogether now, fierce hereshical”.

          2. Joe the Lion

            English is the language primarily spoken in Ireland

            Ireland is the language of the Irish people.

            These are facts – sorry. Nothing ideological.

            In respect of your completely null and void remarks about the poetry of dead seagulls, I recall once when a child having learned a tale of some egg who fell off a wall and got broken – Humpty Dumpty I think his name was. Is he your cousin?

          3. ahjayzis

            I think I just gave myself a blackeye with my palm.

            Teaching a kid a nursery rhyme in their first language is one thing.
            Teaching a kid a poem in a language that is not their first language is a waste of time and an exercise in rote learning – not language learning. However well their ancestors spoke it.

            Your point is nonsensical and a misty-eyed play on words, it’s not a lived reality. English is the first language of the Irish people in the same way Arabic is the first language of the people of Egypt, Tunisia and Iraq instead of Egyptian/Greek, Berber/Latin/Carthaginian and Babylonian/Akkadian.

            One is a sentimental point, the other is the real world. I believe things should be taught in schools on a real-world basis and not a hark-back, throw-back, diddly-idle fantasy that keeps thousands employed to produce 18 year olds who can expound on the themes of loss and insecurity in poem X, but need subtitles for Ros na Run.

          4. Joe the Lion

            I’m sorry – you are mistaken.

            Our language is part of our heritage and our identity – it cannot simply be erased at the stroke of a pen. I noted you can not give a single argument against this. This is nothing sentimental of course. It is practical, hard-headed business. Billions of euro are spent here by foreign visitors every year because Ireland as a product or brand has many unique selling points to the overseas metropolitan elite, one of which is our mother tongue.

            You have also clarified your remarks now in fairness to speak to the poor standard of teaching Gaeilge with which I concur. But you spoiled it by drawing blanket associations about the ‘absurd doublethink’ you claim afflicts those with whom you disagree. In short and in your answer to Nigel above you effect a brow-beating, bullying stance that in no minor way completely mirrors the attitude of the fainne-wearing and catholic loving brigade that you claim to deplore.

          5. ahjayzis

            I tend to browbeat people who’s idea of debate is ‘dats stupid hun, wish de IMF had dun us in lolz xxx wb’, so sorry I spoiled it, but in fairness you didn’t walk into the room in a nice way.

            But in the main, my original post was accurate and not ‘stoopid’ as you said.
            Culturally, also, the language of Ireland is English in every way that matters. Joyce, Yeats, Wilde are as much part of our culture as any Irish-using poet you can mention and far more influential. Contrast the number of visitors with a literary bent who come here based on our Irish writers and lyricists compared to those in English. How many come to Ireland based on our ancestral language? Why do they mostly end up in Dublin, then?

            I’m not arguing that Irish is not the ancestral language of the people on this island. But it is not ‘our’ mother tongue, my mother tongue is English. Mother tongue is the language you learn from birth… from your mother.

            I’d really like to see your cost-benefit analysis on the language. The resources we use to teach it are wasted in about 80% of cases, so how much do we claw back in teary-eyed Yanks coming over to hear us speak it?

          6. Clampers Outside!

            “English is the language primarily spoken in Ireland” – Deluded nonsense, that is a fact.
            “Ireland is the language of the Irish people” – Ya what now? More Nonsense.
            “These are facts” – On what planet are these facts?

            Get a grip Joe :)

          7. Clampers Outside!

            And when I thought the deluded couldn’t be any more deluded I read this…

            “it cannot simply be erased at the stroke of a pen. I noted you can not give a single argument against this.”
            Eh, nobody is arguing that ya muppet. Stick to what the man is saying and not what you are hoping he’ll say.

            “In short and in your answer to Nigel above you effect a brow-beating, bullying stance that in no minor way completely mirrors the attitude of the fainne-wearing and catholic loving brigade that you claim to deplore.”
            Fantastic bit of nonsense gobbledygook that.

        2. Joe the Lion

          Yeats, Wilde and the others you mention, it is commonly understood, are perceived as great writers not because they write in English, but because their Irish experience, and in particular the nuances of phrasing in the Irish language informs the richness of their sentence construction as Béarla. This is all basic stuff to anyone who wishes to educate themselves in respect of Anglo Irish literature. PS ‘hun’ I didn’t at any time use any text-speak. Neither did I draw a clear line between Irish language as the sole selling point for tourism, I said it is part of our arsenal of visitor attractiveness. Thus asking me to make a cost:benefit analysis along the parameters you request is trite and meaningless.

      4. DeSelb-ioch

        Well her name was Sharon Boland until she landed the RTE gig.

        What’s funny is the notion that we have to translate our names to some nonsensical name to be really Irish.

        Every year in school, teachers would invariably attempt to translate the classes names to Irish. I must’ve had appox 10 variations of my name while in school.

        1. ahjayzis

          They translated mine to ‘Conchur’, which was pronounced like Cruck-hoor. Hideous.
          And there was me thinking ‘Conor’ was pretty Irish to start with.

        2. Clampers Outside!

          Heh, me too, each year I’d tell the teacher I didn’t know my Irish name because from the first teacher to the second and third it changed… so I said to hell with these pr*cks making up a name for me.

          I’ve since found a reliable source.

      5. Louis Lefronde

        Arse….the east coast has been English predominantly since the late middle ages and other parts of the country too.

    1. Drogg

      Yeah i thought we had moved on past this sort of thing as a nation, i think its more a controversy the amount of people on trolleys in hospitals at the moment then who Leo likes to spend his private time with.

      1. Nigel

        To say it’s controversial is overstating it. To say it’s unimportant is understating it. To say it’s not as important as the health care crisis is true but proves too much because the health care crisis is more important than many, many things that are still news and that are still talked about it because life goes on regardless.

        1. Drogg

          Frankly its no ones business who he wishes to spend his private life with, but it is everyones business the problems that are currently arising in the health system. This almost comes across as a diversion tactic to take away from the 600 people still on trolleys.
          Don’t get me wrong i wish him well that he can now live his life openly but the only people who really care about this are the morons who read the red tops while the rest of us are ready to vote yes for marriage equality and move on to the point that no body cares if your gay or not.

          1. Nigel

            Well, you’re not wrong, but surely the fact that it can be seen as a diversion suggests that a politician being openly gay is still something of an issue? What exactly that issue is seems to be difficult to pin down, whether it’s slapping ourselves on the back for being tolerant and accepting (seriously, good for us) or people making ostentatious displays of indifference, pace Fergus below. Some people want it normalised, some people want it trivialised. I think people can hold at least two ideas in their heads – that it’s great that a politician can be openly gay, but being openly gay doesn’t qualify you to run a health service effectively. But neither does being straight, which was the default, nor being a man, which was the default as well.

          2. Drogg

            It seems very media driven it was top story on all the irish news programmes yesterday and all the papers today, its almost like they are trying to turn it into something.

          3. Medium Sized C

            Fupp me……

            Did you really just imply he is using his own sexuality to distract from the trolley scandal?

          4. Nigel

            Well it is kind of a big deal, though perhaps there’s a certain amount of pent-up frustration about the media’s response, as if they’ve been suppressing this part of themselves for so long, keeping silent when they wanted with all their being to just blurt it out and have it out there in the open for all to see. The relief for the media must be just enormous. They feel so free and light and they can truly be themselves at last.

          5. Joe the Lion

            I don’t often disagree with your comments Nigel but really the minister’s sexual orientation is not news, I suppose there is some kind of symbolic importance for gay folks, fair enough, but really I am more interested in how he does his job

          6. Nigel

            With the marriage equality thing coming up? Of course it’s news. With horrific homophobia rampant elsewhere in the world? Of course it’s news. Our acceptance of his sexuality is a stark opposition to places like Russia or Saudi Arabia. Not really caring if a politician is gay in a world where there is official sanction for throwing gay people off buildings or torturing them is news all right, and news we should be damn well proud of.

          7. Medium Sized C

            Drogg, I’m not saying that.
            But most people wouldn’t do that, I’d imagine.
            Lot of gay folks on here, how many of them do you reckon came out of the closet to get themselves out of trouble?

            Like using their private life to deflect from…..what now?
            A news story that was loosing steam early last week?

            Do you think that just because someone is in politics they don’t get a personal life or something? That he can’t talk about himself?
            He said he wanted to be out of politics by 51, was that deflecting from something?
            How about when he was talking about people asking him about going back to India? What was that deflecting from?

          8. Joe the Lion

            Sigh, we’ll have to disagree.

            Stuff that happens in Saudi Arabia is not any of my concern really either.

    1. munkifisht

      Because despite what Vlad said, being gay is apparently a big deal to the typical right wing, hatemongering, societally divisive shower of sewer rats who work in Irish media. Still, considering Vlad himself’s a right wing nut that’s probably apt.

  2. fluffybiscuits

    Its a diversionary tactic away from the real problems of A &E

    I was criticised by my fellow LGBT for accusing them of lacking political acumen and stating they would be more interested in a sale on skinny jeans in Topshop than any real political news. One wryly commented ‘Why dont you bang on about the water meters’…Needless to say i have been labelled self loathing, cynical and a tw@t by a bunch of narcissistic twinks. Hilarious

    Now if only Clampers would come out…for a romantic meal for two :D

    1. rotide

      It’s obviously not a diversionary tactic and it’s obviously politically motivated in some part. Most likely getting out in front of a story somewhere.

      I don’t blame the twinks for reacting like they did i that’s how you posted btw. I know that here people are allowed pretend certain issues are important and life or death, but out in the real world people don’t give a shite.

    2. Medium Sized C

      Was the health story for the last few days the trolleys?

      Because it has moved on from the news.
      The news has diverted.

      Actually its a feckin great time to do this because when the next health shit storm hits the papers and you are griping about it, nobody will be talking about his sexuality.
      But sure, “FUPP DA GUBMENT”.

  3. guy bague

    Has the trolley count gone down this morning? First openly gay inept minister for health. He wont be the last.

    1. andyourpointiswhatexactly

      I think you can always use the adjective inept before the words Minister for Health, really.

    2. Mary Mary

      According to Leo’s Twitter account on Saturday:
      “122 on trolleys. 71 over 9hrs. 10 hospitals at 0. No sign of flu impact yet. Going to keep at it. Need sustained relentless focus.”

      So, yes, there seems to be fewer people on trolleys.

  4. bobsyerauntie

    The interview was excruciating to listen to, but a political coup for Varadker and Fine Gael…
    One thing that really bothers me though is a few years ago Leo seemed to think that marriage was for the sake of children and that children should have an intrinsic right to a mother and a father, his friend and colleague- Lucinda Creighton also had the same attitude against gay marriage. Now it seems Creighton has changed her tune, and so has Leo.

    While, as a gay man, I should be glad that powerful political figures in Ireland have somewhat changed their bigoted attitudes, however, I can’t help thinking that it’s not that they have really changed their opinions but rather that they realize that the majority of the Irish population do not hold such views, and that by holding such views (publicly at least) would be political suicide…

    Furthermore, did anyone else sense Leo’s internalized homophobia palpably pulsating every-time he had to discuss his gayness?

    1. Joe the Lion

      oh +1000%

      how many more pluses can I give to this comment?

      how I despise and abjure these despicable wretched self-serving pair of sewer rats

        1. Joe the Lion

          Thanks for that stellar contribution W_Thomas. You really added to my depth of understanding.

    2. W_Thomas

      “Furthermore, did anyone else sense Leo’s internalized homophobia palpably pulsating every-time he had to discuss his gayness?”

      Can’t say I did, no.

      1. bobsyerauntie

        Well I noticed it.. and I’m sure a lot of people did.
        Internalized homophobia is common amongst us gay folk, I have it myself, not as much as Leo, but I do have a touch of it, as Panti alluded to in her speeches, homophobia is so pervasive that even out and proud gay people themselves have it (including my gay old self)…
        It wasn’t a criticism of Leo, more an observation..
        I don’t know if I applaud him for coming out in this way, it just didn’t come across as sincere to me..
        It was also very obviously staged, in the sense that Miriam knew before hand and was leading him into it..
        One good thing that will come out (pardon the pun!) of this though is it will really piss off the Iona Institute folks and their Opus Dei- rosary bead clutching -brethren…
        And anything that does that- has go be welcomed..

      2. Kieran NYC

        I didn’t either. Almost all of my coming out conversations have been awkward in some way, and I love being gay. And I wasn’t on radio telling the whole country.

        1. bobsyerauntie

          well, perhaps you’re not that perceptive?
          My point was, he was very obviously mortified discussing it, he was also very vague and contradictory on when he came out to family and friends, and his party colleagues etc, which leads me to believe that this was a political decision not a personal one. I just don’t think it was that sincere, and I also think it’s abhorrent when gay people support right wing ideological parties like Fine Gael, I can never understand those kinds of gay people, are they that self hating? is their internalized homophobia that ingrained that they go against their own?

          One of his closet friends is Lucinda Creighton, a politician who up until recently was vehemently against gay marriage. His party has a dated and archaic Catholic right wing conservative agenda, supports austerity and European hegemony, and despite being in a position to influence ( particularly) young gay people for the past 4 years, he decided to come out with a year left in office? It just doesn’t add up, and as I said, as a gay man myself, I want to applaud him and praise him but the whole thing stinks of cynical political stunt making- and electioneering… he isn’t being sincere, he’s a career politician and I don’t think this was fully his decision to come out, I think it’s a game of party politics.

    3. Mary Mary

      Surely adjusting their views based on the zeitgeist is a good thing in certain situations, no? Isn’t that why people protest about marriage equality, or abortion, or water meters.

      1. bobsyerauntie

        @Mary Mary

        good point, and I agree, but the way I see it is, either you have a principle worth defending or you don’t- I would have more respect for them (Leo and Lucinda types) if they came out (pardon the pun) and admitted that their views on gay marriage were wrong in the first instance..

        Instead- what we have are two obviously very ambitious self serving politicians who would swing whatever way as long as it will get them votes…

        Fine Gael are only becoming pro-gay marriage and pro- gay rights now because they realize that the socially conservative ultra Catholic Ireland which their party fed off for decades no longer exists…

        It’s not so much changing with the zeitgesit, but more adapting to trends to get votes…

  5. Mark

    I wanna know if it was it his dance or bowel movements they were following?
    Anyone clear that up for me?

  6. DepthChargeEthel

    The spilling of this guy’s personal life and preferences is pure SPIN in its crassest form, FG know well what they’re doing; hanging out in Pantibar was merely Step 1 of their co-opting of a conservative with a Capital C gay lifestyle!! To try and contextualise this, I present some excerpts from an interesting review of the film Pride from out.com: http://www.out.com/news-opinion/2014/09/30/pride-film-mark-simpson-remembers-lgsm
    The reviewer helpfully points out how “gays on the make were to become the hot pink shock troops of Thatcherite individualism. After all, no one believed in the power of money, shop­ping, and per­sonal rein­ven­tion more than they did. The “gay lifestyle” was to take off in the late ’80s, largely replacing gay politics in the ’90s and eventually becoming a straight aspiration.”
    Sounds right up FG’s alley, no?
    Another interesting point made in said review probably relates more directly to the UK as I am ignorant to how ideologically “left” the gay rights movement in Ireland actually is/was:
    “Pride is a timely reminder that the revolution in the way our society thinks about and treats gender and sexuality came from the left and its ideals of solidarity not just the atomising nature of consumerism and individualism. And certainly not by the design of our first woman Prime Minister with her “Victorian values.” Thatcher fan-boy David Cameron’s introduction of same sex marriage was intended as a rewriting of history, a brazen co-option of all the heavylifting victories for gay equality by the left in the previous years in the teeth of vehement opposition by his own “nasty party” and its many allies in the press. (And by him personally: only a decade ago Cameron voted twice against the repeal of Section 28 the second time in a free vote.)”
    Take note of this cynical rewriting of political beliefs and their celebration by our exceptionally conservative media. Certainly the majority of out Gays in the mainstream media “opinion” positions of note on this septic isle tend to be of the uber conservative bent (if you excuse the pun), including Leo’s alleged beau, Mullally et al…

  7. t w s golden

    @ Joe the lion …”Stuff that happens in Saudi Arabia is not any of my concern really either.” … Well Joe, could I respectfully suggest that it should be! It is by people turning a blind eye to human rights violations by saying “..it’s none of my concern” that oppresive regimes are allowed to continue their despicable acts (such as throwing young men off the top of a building because of their sexual orientation – as happened last week in Iraq!)

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