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Gay Indian-origin Leo Varadkar leads race to become Ireland’s first Indian-origin Prime Minister

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Dublin, May 21, 2017: Welfare Minister Leo Varadkar is leading the race to succeed Enda Kenny as Ireland’s first Indian-origin and also openly gay Prime Minister or the Taoiseach, the media reported.

The 38-year-old will face Housing Minister Simon Coveney after nominations closed for the leadership of the governing centre-right Fine Gael party, reported Sky News on Saturday.

Varadkar is favoured to take over from 66-year-old Kenny, who is stepping down after six years as Taoiseach and 15 years at the helm of Fine Gael.

Kenny’s successor is due to be elected in the June 2 general elections and Ireland’s Parliament will vote for Prime Minister a few days later.

Varadkar has won early support for his leadership bid from several senior cabinet members and a majority of his parliamentary colleagues have publicly backed him.

The Dublin-born son of an Indian immigrant father and Irish mother, Leo Varadkar became the first openly gay cabinet minister in Ireland after coming out in 2015, reports Sky News.

He has campaigned on same-sex marriage and liberalizing abortion laws and is an advocate of tight fiscal restraint.

He was a doctor before winning a seat in Parliament in 2007 and has rapidly risen through the ranks, holding several ministerial portfolios.

Ahead of the deadline for leadership nominations, Varadkar had secured 45 of 71 available votes from members of Fine Gael’s parliamentary party.

They account for 65 per cent of the electoral college, with 22,000 ordinary party members sharing 25 per cent. County councillors account for the remaining 10 percent. (IANS)

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‘Parent by Choice for Choice’ : Thousands Join Protests Against Ireland’s Abortion Laws

This year's march against abortion laws was more significant than ever given the latest confirmation that there will be a referendum on abortion next year

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Thousands gathered to protest against Ireland's abortion laws holding placards saying "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries" and "Parent by choice for choice (representational image) Wikimedia

Dublin, September 1, 2017 : Thousands of people staged a massive protest in Dublin, calling for an end to Ireland’s strict abortion laws, the media reported.

Campaigners took part in the March for Choice in the capital’s city centre on Saturday, chanting: “Hey, hey Leo (Prime Minister Leo Varadkar), the eighth amendment has got to go” and carrying banners which read: “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries” and “Parent by choice for choice”, reports the Guardian.

This year’s march against abortion laws, the sixth in a series of annual events, was more significant than ever given the latest confirmation that there will be a referendum on abortion next year.

The Irish government recently set a potential timescale of early 2018 for the referendum on the eighth amendment, the section of Ireland’s constitution imposing tight legal restrictions on terminations.

ALSO READ Anti-abortion Activists and supporters of a Woman’s right choose staged demonstrations in US

The amendment, which was voted into the constitution by referendum in 1983, affords equal rights to unborn babies and pregnant women and gives foetuses the right to life by law, the Guardian reported.

Terminations are only permitted when the life of the mother is at risk, and the maximum penalty for having an illegal abortion in Ireland is 14 years in prison.

Thousands of Irish women travel to the British mainland each year to have a legal termination.

ALSO READ DIY abortions: To do or not to do?

Anti-abortion activists staged counter events in the city and across Ireland to warn against the relaxation of the current law reports the BBC.

A pro-choice rally was also staged outside the Irish embassy in London on Saturday, with campaigners highlighting the numbers of Irish women who have traveled to the UK for an abortion in the last three decades.  (IANS)

 

 

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