Is Irish minister Leo Varadkar on track to be first gay Taoiseach
The Republic's Health Minister is on track to be Ireland's first ever gay Taoiseach, having publicly come out about his sexuality.
Leo Varadkar revealed his decision to openly discuss being gay was made for "personal and political" reasons.
"I am a gay man. It's not a secret. I hope it's not a big deal for anyone else - it shouldn't be," he added.
Mr Varadkar, who marked his 36th birthday yesterday, said that he wanted to be honest about his situation. Senior political figures within his Fine Gael party said Mr Varadkar's decision to talk about his sexuality will not damage his chances of becoming leader.
Mr Varadkar is widely seen as one of two frontrunners to succeed Enda Kenny as leader of Fine Gael.
In an in-depth, interview on RTE radio, he said he did not want people to feel he was hiding anything and he wanted to reassure people his sexual orientation would not dictate any policy choices he might make.
Mr Varadkar's comments come in the run-up to a referendum in the Republic on same-sex marriage in May.