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Ireland’s Leo Varadkar shows real leadership by returning to work as a doctor to help battle coronavirus

Nick Duffy April 6, 2020
Irish leader Leo Varadkar

Irish leader Leo Varadkar (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Ireland’s out leader Leo Varadkar has returned to work as a doctor one day a week to help the battle against coronavirus.

The Irish Taoiseach, who worked as a doctor for more than a decade before entering full-time politics, has re-registered with the Health Service Executive.

In line with a call for retired healthcare workers to return to service during the pandemic, the leader will carry out work one day a week, it is understood.

Leo Varadkar ‘wanted to help out’ by returning to medicine.

A spokesperson for HSE confirmed: “Dr Varadkar rejoined the medical register last month.

“He has offered his services to the HSE for one session a week in areas that are within his scope of practice.

“Many of his family and friends are working in the health service. He wanted to help out even in a small way.”

Taoiseach of Ireland Leo Varadkar and his partner Matthew Barrett
Taoiseach of Ireland Leo Varadkar and his partner Matthew Barrett (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

According to the Irish Times, Varadkar is currently carrying out phone assessments for people who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 as part of his medical duties.

Varadkar’s partner Matthew Barrett also works as a doctor, while his two sisters and father also have a background in healthcare.

The leader is one of the only out LGBT+ heads of government in the world, having taken office in Ireland in 2017.

Ireland’s caretaker leader remains on office.

He has remained in office in a caretaker capacity following the country’s general election in February, which saw his centre-right Fine Gael party come a close third behind Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil.

No deal to form a new government has been reached, but negotiations continue on a proposal for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to form a coalition.

Proposals put forward by Fine Gael would see the role of Taoiseach split between the parties on a rotating basis – which would possibly see Varadkar or a successor share the role with Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin.

In January, Sinn Féin suspended a councillor for suggesting that Varadkar is unfit to lead because he is not a “family man”.

On his No Sham podcast, Paddy Holohan had said: “We need people running the country… someone that knows what it’s like to have kids, maybe, hopefully, boys and girls, so when you’re creating policies and stuff that’s going to go on, you’re like: ‘Right, it makes sense.’

“I know what it’s like to collect my young fella from school so I know what school time traffic is like.

“When I’m making decisions, I can have an experience of it and bring that into the equation.”

He continued: “The man that is a family man, that goes to work, looks after his kids, has come up through the system, has experience, maybe is a solicitor as well so has that experience – that’s who should be running the country. Someone who knows what the masses of people are going through.”

More: Coronavirus, Health Service Executive, Ireland, Leo Varadkar

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