Taoiseach Leo Varadkar To Step Down

An announcement is due this afternoon.

Leo Varadkar is to stand down as Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael.

Mr. Varadkar assumed the office of Taoiseach in June of 2017.

He has been a Fine Gael TD for the Dublin West constituency since 2007.

He's resigning as leader of his party with immediate effect, and will step down as Taoiseach when a successor is appointed.

Leo Varadkar says he's stepping down for both personal and political reasons.

He also says he's confident his party can gain seats in the upcoming General Election.

He will remain as a TD in the Dublin-West constituency.

A new Taoiseach will be elected when the Dáil resumes after the Easter break.

Leo Varadkar says leading the country has been the "most fulfilling time" of his life.

In a speech at Government Buildings, he outlined the moments he's most proud of while in office, as well as the areas where he says the Government has been "less successful."

Leo Varadkar concluded his speech thanking the people of Ireland for giving him the opportunity to serve them.

He promised to "keep working for Ireland" and his community in anyway he can in the future.

Offaly Green Party Senator and Junior Agriculture Minister Pippa Hackett says the work of the Government will go on uninterrupted:

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has paid tribute to Leo Varadkar.

He says the Taoiseach is entitled to make this decision, but he will continue to fulfill the programme for Government.

"This is a coalition of three parties, not personalities" he added.

The Tanaiste says Leo Varadkar told him of his plans to resign at a pre-Cabinet meeting last night.

Micheál Martin says on a personal level, the pair got on well.

He adds he and the Green Party Leader were told about his plans last night:

A member of Fine Gael says there was no communication with TDs and Senators ahead of this afternoon's announcement.

Alan Farrell says he and his colleagues were left in the dark as the Taoiseach planned his resignation speech:

The British Prime Minister has thanked Leo Varadkar for his "dedicated" service.

Rishi Sunak says they've worked closely together recently, particularly on Northern Ireland.

He wished Mr. Varadkar the best and said he's looking forward to working with the next Taoiseach.

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan says he had a good relationship with Leo Varadkar:

IFA President, Ballinakill's Francie Gorman, says he had found Leo Varadkar to be open and accessible to discussions about what was needed to support farmers as part of the development of our largest indigenous sector.

“Leo Varadkar attended our AGM in January in the Irish Farm Centre and was willing to engage with our delegates.

We had a lengthy meeting with him in recent weeks and we felt we were genuinely making progress on some issues.

The IFA President said the biggest issue that faced Leo Varadkar when he became Taoiseach in 2017 was the outcome of the Brexit vote a year earlier.

That vote had huge ramifications for our agri-food sector and our trading relationship with Great Britain. Leo Varadkar understood that and kept our concerns front and centre in the prolonged talks that culminated in the trade agreement in 2020.

Whatever he decides to do next, I want to thank him for his contribution and to wish him well in his next role.”

Fine Gael Minister of State, Kildare South TD Martin Heydon, says party colleagues were surprised by Mr. Varadkar's announcement, but he understands the reasons given for his resignation:

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