Modi congratulates Ireland PM Leo Varadkar

TDs queue up to shake Enda Kenny's hand in the Dáil

Leo Varadkar, son of a migrant Indian doctor and an Irish mother, was on Wednesday sworn in as the prime minister of Ireland, Europe's fastest-growing economy, succeeding Enda Kenny as leader of the governing Fine Gael party.

Varadkar will become taoiseach when he is appointed by President Michael D Higgins later today.

He also said the new Taoiseach has "secured the most important role in our parliamentary democracy", his family and supporters have "a right to be immensely proud of him".

"Something we sometimes take for granted", he added.

The son of an Indian immigrant, he is the first openly gay politician to serve in that post.

"Our responsibility as a government is as co-guarantor of the (Good Friday) Agreement, and of course the responsibility of all parties in Northern Ireland, after two elections, is to form an administration", he said.

President Macron and the Taoiseach spoke about working together to advance the European Union reform agenda, noting that there were many areas of common interest between Ireland and France. "We couldn't get the former Taoiseach to stretch as far as that".

Micheál Martin, leader of the main opposition Fianna Fáil, told parliament, "This is a very special day for Deputy Leo Varadkar".

The lower house of Parliament, the Dail Eireann, approved his nomination 57-50, with 45 abstaining.

Fine Gael is Ireland's centre-right political party, seen as taking liberal positions on several social and economic issues.

"The country as we know it would not be here today if it was not for Enda Kenny", Varadkar said following the vote. "He has been involved in the School of Medicine since he graduated and has been generous with his time with both students and faculty alike".

Varadkar becomes the EU's youngest national leader with Jüri Ratas, the 38-year-old Estonian Prime Minister and Emmanuel Macron, 39 of France, joining him as a trio under 40.

But Regina Doherty, one of the three to be promoted, says the new Taoiseach did his best.

Mr Varadkar won the Fine Gael party leadership contest against Simon Coveney at the start of June.



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