Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Leo Varadkar’s Fitness

May 4th, 2010 · 11 Comments · Abortion, Irish Politics

You may have missed the big interview with Leo Varadkar in the Sunday Independent.   We learn about his family, his personal trainer and the fact he does not do clinics and emails constituents instead, and his views on abortion.

Just in case you hadn’t heard them yourself and were wondering I thought I’d reprint his views on the latter.Might make some in the Labour Party think a bit about the young pups and the future of that party in coalition with Fine Gael – not that they would find much different in Fianna Fáíl.  I’m just wondering about his future patients as he has 100 hours left of training to take to qualify as a GP.

Despite his medical background, his views on some controversial medical issues are quite black and white — such as abortion. “I would accept a lot of Catholic social teaching. I’m not a practising religious person, but I would accept that. I wouldn’t be in favour of abortion. The only thing that would be a grey area is if there’s a genuine threat or risk to the life of the mother.”

What about the provision of abortion services for rape victims? “I wouldn’t be in favour of it in that case, and, you know, first of all, it isn’t the child’s fault that they’re the child of rape. You can say the same thing about disabled children. You know, some people would make that argument in favour of abortion. It’s not their fault they’re disabled. I wouldn’t be in favour of it in those circumstances either.

“Even, how would that work practically? Would someone have to prove that they’ve been raped? I think where that’s been brought in in countries it has more or less led to abortion on demand,” he adds.

Is it not double standards to have more than 5,000 women a year travelling to the UK and elsewhere for abortions? “I don’t think that’s double standards. People travel overseas to do things overseas that aren’t legal in Ireland all the time. You know, are we going to stop people going to Las Vegas? Are we going to stop people going to Amsterdam? There are things that are illegal in Ireland and we don’t prevent people from travelling overseas to avail of them.”

Yes he did say that women can keep travelling just like the people who go to gamble in Las Vegas or do whatever in Amsterdam.

By the by I noted tonight that Leo was also watching PrimeTime and Eamon Ryan’s defence of higher fuel prices, Leo took to his computer and threw around a few rattles.

Wonder will he repeat that next time he’s in the Dáil chamber.  All that statesman like image building and working out and a tweet like that shows us that it’s all a load of fluff.



11 Comments so far

  • Adam

    Just when you think this guy can’t get any more obnoxious, he comes out with this offensive nonsense. Comparing the plight of desperate women forced to leave this country for a procedure they should be able to access at home to a weekend of gambling or smoking dope really takes the biscuit. I think this latest outburst from Varadkar should give Labour plenty to think about before joining a government that would see such a divisive figure getting a place at the Cabinet table. In fact I would make his non-appointment a pre-condition in any FG/Lab coalition talks. Over to you Mr would be Taoiseach Enda Kenny…

  • Jane

    But Adam, how do Varadkar’s policies differ from Labour’s on this issue? Labour doesn’t support the right of women to access abortion services at home in most circumstances either. Including when they’re raped.

  • Holemaster

    His comment about Fitzgerald finished him off in my eyes. If he can’t see how valuable a person Fitzgerald is then he’s not smart enough for the job.

    Eamon Ryan is a major bluffer though. Hasn’t a breeze what he’s taking about.

  • SeanR

    Someone who equates gambling in Las Vegas with the trauma of going overseas for a termination is just a jackass. And given he doesn’t understand how Dr Fitzgerald ensured that Ireland didn’t end up in a Greek situation shows he’s a loose cannon.

    So me dears, Gordon Brown’s advice to the British electorate today (in an interview in the London Times also applies here… the best tactic is to vote Labour!

  • Adam

    Jane, my understanding is that Labour does support a relaxing of the abortion ban in Ireland and of course Ivana Bacik is one of the leading lights in the pro-choice movement. But I think, at a minimum, we need legislation to give effect to X Case ruling which is now nearly 20 years old! All the political parties have been cowardly in this regard and are certainly lagging behind public opinion on the issue. More broadly, I think there is a real dilemma for socially liberal minded voters at the next election. Labour is our natural home but many of us just cannot stomach the idea of Enda Kenny as Taoiseach or Varadkar getting anywhere near the cabinet table. Kenny might choose his words more carefully but he is also very right-wing on social issues.

  • Jane

    Adam, Labour’s policy is to legislate for X and allow abortion for risk to life, significant injury to physical health or in cases of fatal foetal abnormality. That may be a “relaxing” of the ban but not much of one. It is still the most restrictive policy I’m aware of of any “left” party in Europe outside of Malta.

    As for Labour being “our” natural home, speak for yourself.

  • Adam

    Jane, the main point I was making in my original post was the outrageous comparison Varadkar was making between a woman going abroad for a termination and someone going on holiday to the likes of Amsterdam or Las Vegas. His language was obnoxious and insensitive in the extreme. I doubt any politician from the broad centre left would be so tactless.
    Abortion itself is a contentious issue and there are a range of views in all parties on the issue. We still unfortunately haven’t arrived at a point where being unashamedly pro-choice is part of the political mainstream. We are light years behind most other European countries and I don’t see a dramatic change in the law here anytime soon. Hopefully those brave women who have taken their case to Europe will be successful but even if they are, I think we would just get the standard line from govt that “we will study the ruling? etc.
    I also didn’t mean to give the impression that all socially liberal voters are Labour supporters but they are nevertheless the largest left-liberal party in the country by some distance so I think its fair to assume that a lot if not a majority of people who prioritise secular/pluralist issues tend to vote for that party.

  • Ian

    I hear that he was interviewed in hot press as well and that he gave his views on same sex marriage

  • No more Leo Tweeting « Éidín's Blog

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  • Paul

    With 9 comments before me, none of which are pro-life, I’d just like to quickly add to this conversation to hopefully make it a bit more balanced.

    Adam – the guy defends human life and you call him ‘obnoxious’. Does not concern you at all?

    SeanR – he did not equate ‘gambling in Las Vegas with the trauma of going overseas for a termination’ with abortion. He said it in terms of not being double standards when it comes to illegal acts. The trauma of ‘termination’ – are you talking about the trauma of the person who gets killed here? Sadly I don’t think you are.

  • Raymond

    I find myslef agreeing with Paul.Why this personal attack on Mr Varadkar for expressing his views,whatever happened to the notion of freedom of speech.Can the pro abortion people not allow any debate without feeling insecure about their position ? It kinda ridicules the notion of being pro-choice versus being really pro abortion.Choice would indicate that there is a legitimate case to be made for the other life (oh sorry didn’t you know? ) in the balance.Anyway Ireland’s maternal health outcomes are many times better than the UK; with its ultra liberal abortion regime…how much more liberal can you get with one in four pregnancies ending in abortion and such trivial grounds a club foot or cleft pallat or god forbid Gender being used to abort the baby.Maith an fear a Leo!