Al Doyle met Leo Varadkar backstage at his band's recent Dublin show
Varadkar, the leader of Fine Gael, became Taoiseach in June, the country’s youngest person to hold the office at 38. He was also Ireland’s first openly gay government minister and is the first minister of Indian heritage.
On Saturday (September 30), thousands protested in Dublin as part of the March for Choice, calling for an end to Ireland’s strict abortion laws and a repeal of the country’s eighth amendment. Varadkar has stated that a referendum on the issue would take place in 2018, although his party is divided on the issue.
The day prior (September 29), Doyle took to Twitter to claim that Varadkar “came backstage” at the band’s Dublin show and that he protested by wearing a “repeal” tote bag “around my neck in front of him”. Varadkar “walked away”, according to Doyle, who also labelled the politician a “tosser” and said that his bandmate Nancy Whang “totally [fucking] took [Varadkar] to task”.
Following Doyle’s tweets, MCD venues director Caroline Downey – who was in attendance backstage – disputed Doyle’s version of events, tweeting, “This by the way did not happen” and posting a photo appearing to show Doyle and band posing backstage with Varadkar.
Doyle later tweeted an apology, stating that “we should do our due diligence on any politico types that wanna come backstage” and that “a tote bag round the neck is a crap protest”. He also said that “I don’t have much right to wade into this debate as some Johnny come lately when it’s not even my country” but “I just think that women’s bodies are their own, and it’s weird that anyone feels they can’t just say that for any reason”.
“Also it’s totally just my opinion that Leo Varadkar is a tosser. He just seemed like a bit of a tosser in the limited time I spent with him,” Doyle added. “I’m glad there’s a referendum happening; of course I am. And I’d hate to distract from the real debate in any way.” See his tweets in full below.
Varadkar, meanwhile has since said that he and a group of colleagues “were invited backstage to meet the band which was a real privilege,” adding: “One or two of the band members wanted to share their view with me on the Eight Amendment. I had no problem at all with that.”
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