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Politician Leo Varadkar Given Extra Security After Death Threats

Politician Leo Varadkar Given Extra Security After Death Threats

The out leader made history when he became the first LGBTQ+ leader of Ireland.

Irish leader Leo Varadkar and his partner Matthew Barrett have been given increased armed security protection following serious threats of violence and death. According to a report in the Irish Central, Ireland's Special Detective Unit view the threats as credible and believe at least some come for right-wing and anti-lockdown extremists. Varadkar, 42, a medical doctor turned politician who publicly came out as gay during the country's resoundingly affirmative 2015 public referendum on marriage equality, was appointed to the position of Tanaiste, the number two position in the Irish government, in June of last year.

"For obvious reasons, not much can be divulged as this is a security issue of national importance," one source told Irish Central. "But it's fair to say gardai do not ramp up any member of government's armed security unless there is a good reason. This is being taken extremely seriously."

The gardai or garda roughly translates to guardians or guard, and refers to the Irish national police force responsible for the protection of the country's leadership.

"Some of the threats against the Tanaiste are coming from people who are already on the garda radar because of their involvement with extremism, linked to some of the recent anti-lockdown protests," another source expanded.

Last February, police in Northern Ireland investigated graffiti threatening to lynch Varadkar if he "set foot in Ulster" in the British loyalist country.

"Violence or the threat of violence has no place in democracy," Northern Ireland's First Minister, Arlene Foster, tweeted in outrage about the grafitti. "I condemn those behind this."

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald called the graffiti "a vile, shameful attack" that must be "faced down by all of us."

Police have publicly provided few details on either incident, refusing to provide the nature or specifics of the threats. While police have indicated they are investigating the graffiti as a hate crime, it remains unclear whether the latest threats are being similarly investigated.

Varadkar had previously served as the Irish Taoiseach, or prime minister, from June 2017 to June 2020. He made several firsts upon assuming office. He was not only was the country's first out prime minister, but also the youngest and the first of Indian descent. His parents immigrated to Ireland from India in the 1970s.

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