There are many responsibilities inherent to being the leader of a Western liberal democracy. The efficient and aspirational administrating of an entire country is a task that is both unremittingly rewarding and thankless. However, it seems that, in Ireland, there is an added responsibility which is expected of each successive Taoiseach. A peculiarity among Western nations which seems to have rapidly cemented itself into being some ritualistic and mandatory tradition, and that is having a Taoiseach - at some point during their reign - absolutely make a hames of trying to seem involved in popular music culture.
I think we can all agree that no amount of therapy in the world could satisfactorily wipe the memory of Enda Kenny, looming over the side of a balcony in Croke Park, absolutely swaddled in a cardigan, whirling along on an air guitar to Bruce Springsteen. Now, however, in a new age, under Leo Varadkar, we have been treated to a fresh new musical atrocity.
Leo Varadkar was in Limerick today helping to canvas for Fine Gael in the European Elections. While speaking to people in the city centre he, and his entourage, came across a busker, James McKelvey. In front of hordes of assembled cameras, Leo Varadkar joined in in a rendition of Zombie, by perhaps Limerick's most famous musical export, The Cranberries. While James McKelvey has an undeniably impressive voice, if you are to turn your volume up, you can hear the Taoiseach in the background, definitively not holding his own while singing along.
As someone who is similarly cursed with a profoundly low quality singing voice, I could only sympathise watching Leo Varadkar go through successive waves of mustering, and successively losing, enough confidence to join in. You can see him, singing along at parts, before, seemingly growing aware of his own voice intruding upon the legitimate singer's, drifting off into polite, but amiable silence - allowing a smile to play across his lips as if being forced to join in in spite of an evident lack of ability isn't the most hauntingly difficult task known to man.
There are often lovely moments when out and about on the #EUelections2019 canvass - in #Limerick today with our @FineGael colleagues, @LeoVaradkar and I were treated to this wonderful rendition of Zombie by the Cranberries and the late, great Limerick icon Dolores O'Riordan pic.twitter.com/I1JFhW8TMW
— Seán Kelly MEP (@SeanKellyMEP) May 2, 2019
Speaking to BreakingNews.ie, McKelvey said that he was amazed the Taoiseach stopped to sing with him saying, "He's a very nice guy. It was amazing, absolutely amazing."
At the end of his performance Leo Varadkar can be heard saying to him, "That was really good, and I don't do bullshit."