Leo Varadker, the leader of the Fine Gael party, has been the Prime Minister of Ireland, also called the Taoiseach, since 2017. He was elected at 38, when he became the youngest ever holder of the office, the first Taoiseach of Indian heritage, and also the first openly gay head of government in Ireland’s history. Only the fourth in the world in modern times. He has been largely popular, with approval ratings above 60%.
He was in medical school when he began to be active in politics, and graduated from the School of Medicine at Trinity College in Dublin after completing a medical internship at KEM Hospital in Mumbai, India. He qualified as a general practitioner just one year before he was appointed as the Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport. Varadkar left medicine to serve his government duties in 2012, and was removed from the medical register in 2013.
In the current crisis, with over 6000 confirmed cases in Ireland as of April 4th, Varadkar is re-registering as a doctor to help fighting the outbreak. It’s most likely another on his list of firsts: the first European Union leader to personally join medical workers in the crisis efforts.
According to a government spokesperson, Varadkar will be helping to conduct phone assessments to free up another hospital front line worker. They declined to comment if he would be interacting in person with any patients, but the phone work also requires registered doctors.
“Many of his family and friends are working in the health service. He wanted to help out even in a small way,” said the spokesperson.
He will also continue to carry out his duties of Taoiseach, but in Ireland, which is already a country with taxpayer-funded healthcare, COVID-19 is less a political matter and more a medical one.
More info: EuroNews
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