Leo Varadkar, the Irish health minister, has come out as gay, the first member of the government to do so.
He made the revelation in an interview on RTE radio on Sunday for his 36th birthday.
"It's not a secret," he said, "but not something that everyone would necessarily know, but it isn't something I've spoken publicly about before."
He added: "The only worry I have is that people see me differently or treat me differently. I hope they don't. I am still the same person. To me it is not a big deal, I hope it is not a big deal for people."
Varadkar, who is tipped as a future party leader of Fine Gael, made his remarks months before a referendum will be held in Ireland on whether to give gay marriages equal status.