Leo Varadkar set to become Taoiseach

Ireland's newly elected prime minister, Leo Varadkar, shakes hands with members of a crowd gathered outside Leinster House, the seat of Irish Parliament in Dublin.

Leo Varadkar became the Republic of Ireland's youngest and first openly gay taoiseach, or prime minister, after a parliamentary vote on Wednesday.

TDs today voted to elect Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach, making him the first Trinity graduate in Ireland's history to be elected to the role.

Ireland's youngest ever Taoiseach succeeded in securing the backing of the Dáil by 57 votes to 50, with 47 abstentions.

Mr Kenny announced last month he was stepping down after 15 years leading Fine Gael and six years as Taoiseach.

Mr Coveney and Mr Varadkar had been rivals in a drawn-out race for the leadership of the minority ruling Fine Gael party.

The Cork South Central TD, who unsuccessfully challenged Leo Varadkar for the Fine Gael leadership, had reportedly been keen to take over the key post in Mr Varadkar's new government.

Varadkar faces the immediate challenges of neighbouring Britain's exit from the European Union, a political crisis in Northern Ireland and a housing crisis at home. "I have never found him wanting when it came to dealing with issues head-on", said McHugh.

The former GP is the son of an Irish nurse and a doctor from India.

Back in 2014, Varadkar went as far to say that he was "pro life" and that while he wasn't in favour of "abortion on demand", he thought current laws put lives of women at risk. In his inaugural speech to the Dáil, Varadkar promised that his government would be one of the "new European centre", thus firmly positioning Ireland's future as part of the EU.

The much discussed reshuffle will see some new department heads with the Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald becoming one of those key movers as she is now the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Employment.

However one of the biggest question marks surrounding Mr Varadkar's cabinet appointments is that of the retention of Simon Harris as the Minister for Health despite strong calls for the 30 year old to be relieved of his position.

  • Leroy Wright