Irish Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) Leo Varadkar is facing criticism after he was spotted partying at Mighty Hoopla festival in London, while Irish live music continues to face severe restrictions.
According to The Irish Independent, Varadkar had reportedly flown to the UK on a private jet for the festival.
The newspaper also revealed what they said was a recording of Varadkar saying he “definitely” didn’t think that Britain was “an example to follow” in terms of allowing live events.
In addition, many were particularly angered by the fact that Ireland’s biggest festival, Electric Picnic, was cancelled by the country’s government.
Photos of Varadkar were circulated on Twitter and prompted widespread condemnation. “Leo Varadkar having a buzz at a festival in London while we’re not allowed to dance really does twist the knife in deeper,” said one Twitter user.
Leo Varadkar having a buzz at a festival in London while we’re not allowed to dance really does twist the knife in deeper. pic.twitter.com/MM9ou3s3wM
— Sam Greenwood (@Sam_Greenwood_) September 4, 2021
“Politicians are entitled to a social life but Leo Varadkar flying to London to attend a festival in the UK while his own government has decided it’s unsafe to host an event with similar restrictions in Ireland is shockingly bad leadership,” said political commentator Robert Burke. “Power doesn’t suit him. Tired of excuses.”
Politicians are entitled to a social life but Leo Varadkar flying to London to attend a festival in the UK while his own government has decided it’s unsafe to host an event with similar restrictions in Ireland is shockingly bad leadership. Power doesn’t suit him. Tired of excuses
— Robert Burke (@robertburke84) September 4, 2021
Ignores our calls to open up our entertainment industry, then fucks off to a festival in the UK.. @mightyhoopla . Zero shame @LeoVaradkar pic.twitter.com/AzzIgTefjB
— Buzz O’Neill-Maxwell (@buzzoneill) September 4, 2021
Varadkar has yet to respond to the controversy, however he has since posted a number of times about political business undertaken while in London.
When it was announced last month that Ireland’s Electric Picnic festival had been refused a license for this year’s edition, organisers said they were saying it was “extremely disappointed” with the ruling.
They described the news as a “huge blow and set back to our entire sector, which was mandated to close on the 12th March 2020 (over 500 days ago).” The statement said that the decision means “the further loss of employment for over 3,000 people, who had clung to the hope that Electric Picnic would bring an end to their period of hardship.”