Death Threats Target Ireland's Highest-Ranking Out Official

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday April 7, 2021

Irish Tánaiste Leo Varadkar
Irish Tánaiste Leo Varadkar  (Source:Associated Press)

Ireland's highest-ranking out official -- Leo Varadkar, former head of the Irish government -- has received death threats that credible enough for his security to increase. Irish Central reports.

No specifics about the threats were available. Irish Central quoted one source, "For obvious reasons, not much can be divulged as this is a security issue of national importance.

"But it's fair to say gardai" - the Irish national police - "do not ramp up any member of government's armed security unless there is a good reason. This is being taken extremely seriously."

Another source said that "at least some threats" were made by "people who are already on the garda radar because of their involvement with extremism, linked to some recent anti-lockdown protests."

The story added that "it's believed that Varadkar has been assigned a higher level of protection than Taoiseach Micheál Martin on account of the high threat level he's received."

The Taoiseach is the head of the Irish government, equivalent to a Prime Minister. Varadkar, who serves as Martin's deputy, has the title of Tánaiste.

Earlier this year Irish police investigated spray-painted graffiti in Ulster what promised to hang Varadkar if he should venture there. No connection to that earlier incident was reported in the press, however.

Varadkar had been part of a discussion that was broadcast March 5 on the possibility of a "border poll" that, if voters were to approve it, would unite the Republic of Ireland, which is its own country, and Northern Ireland, which remains part of the UK.

Varadkar said in the unlikely event voters did approve any such measure and the two Irelands were to reunite, the presence of a million British citizens in Northern Ireland would call into question the continued use of governmental titles Taoiseach (Irish for "Chief") and Tánaiste.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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