Leo Varadkar steps down as Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael 

The Taoiseach announced his decision outside Government Buildings this afternoon.

Leo Varadkar has announced that he is stepping down as Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader. 

He has served as Taoiseach since December 2022, and prior to that from 2017 – 2020. He also served as Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment from June 2020 to December 2022.  

Speaking outside Government Buildings this afternoon, Varadkar said:  

“I am resigning as President and Leader of Fine Gael effective today, and will resign as Taoiseach as soon as my successor is able to take up that office. 

“There is never a right time to resign high office, however this is as good a time as any. Budget 2024 is done, negotiations have not yet begun on the next one,” 

Some politicians reacted to the news on X, with Solidarity TD for Cork Mick Barry saying that Leo Varadkar was a “good Taoiseach for the wealthy and some of the middle class”

The Taoiseach appeared visibly emotional as he outlined his reasons for stepping down:  

“My reasons for stepping down are both personal and political… I believe the re-election of this three party government will be the right thing for the future of our country.  

“After careful consideration and some soul searching, I believe a new Taoiseach will be better placed than me to achieve that. 

“After seven years in office, I don’t feel I’m the best person for that job anymore. 

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said he did not expect the decision:  

“It’s not something I had anticipated but I do wish Leo the very best, not an easy decision to make and it would take a lot of courage to make that decision. 

Speaking after the announcement at Government Buildings, he added that the coalition will continue in office. 

Varadkar said a new party leader would be selected by Fine Gael in advance of the April Ard Fheis on Saturday April 16.  

He added that a new Taoiseach will be elected when the Dáil resumes after the Easter break. 

Varadkar has been leader of Fine Gael since June 2017, and a TD since 2007, and credited himself for leading Ireland from a budget deficit to a surplus, as well as through Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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