The Deputy joins the a small but growing club of openly gay Irish politicians, and has said that he has received ‘lots of support’ for the announcement since it was made over the weekend.
Buttimer, who serves the Cork South Central electoral district for Fine Gael, is one of the most active Irish politicians on Twitter, and was first elected to his local city council of Cork City in 2004.
Like many Irish politicians Buttimer served as a secondary school teacher before entering the political fray – still one of the most common vocations among budding Irish public representatives – where his last job was as the Director of Adult Education at a local suburban school.
IrishCentral’s Molly Muldoon reported last year how Dominic Hannigan and John Lyons (Lab) became (then) the first openly gay candidates to partake in the Dáil, Ireland’s upper legislative chamber; Buttimer could perhaps be described as among the first politicians of national prominence and stature to do so.
Whether Buttimer will be among a new group of trailblazing gay politicians or another relatively isolated example remains to be seen, but he does provide a vital boost in prominence for openly gay politicians in Ireland.
The number of full-time public representatives in Ireland remains comparatively small, but the fact that the Houses are already beginning to offer an honest reflection of the ethnic diversity extant within Modern Ireland is an encouraging reflection of the times.
Rotimi Abedari, the Nigerian-born mayor of Portlaoise, the Jewish Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, and Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar, the son of an Indian immigrant to Ireland, are just some of the minorities now rightfully represented within Irish politics, who together offer an encouraging insight into the type of pluralism that forms part of a new Irish tradition.