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20th Mar 2024

Leo Varadkar cites ‘both personal and political reasons’ as he steps down as Taoiseach

Fiona Frawley

leo varadkar steps down

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

Leo Varadkar is stepping down as Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael, following an announcement outside Leinster House earlier today.

Varadkar has led the Fine Gael party since 2017 and served as Taoiseach twice in that time.

Fresh off the back of a controversial visit to the US where he met with President Joe Biden, Varadkar announced at about 12:5pm today that he would be stepping down as Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael, with hopes that a new leader for the party would be elected by 6 April when Fine Gael holds its Ard Fheis.

“No plans”

Varadkar says that he has “no plans” for any other role in the future, adding: “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.

“I am standing aside in the absolute confidence that the country and economy are in a good place.

“I have nothing else lined up, I have nothing in mind.”

Varadkar added that being Taoiseach “has been the most fulfilling time of my life.”

“There’s never a right time to resign office, however this is as good a time as any.”

General Election

It is not believed that the Taoiseach’s decision to step down will result in a general election. The current coalition government is in its last 12 months in office, with an election due in 2025.

Simon Harris is bookies favourite for next leader of Fine Gael

Simon Harris is currently the bookies favourite for next leader of Fine Gael. The minister for Further Education has been open regarding his ambitions to be leader of the party and is 4/6 to take over, with Simon Coveney and Helen McEntee close behind.

Micheál Martin “surprised” by Leo Varadkar’s resignation

While taking questions from the media after the Taoiseach’s announcement, Tanaiste Micheál Martin said that he was “surprised” at the decision, but says he remains committed to the government’s mandate.

Martin added that Varadkar called him and Green Party leader Eamonn Ryan back after last night’s pre-cabinet meeting to inform them of the announcement.

Varadkar has said he will continue to fulfil his duties as Taoiseach until a new leader of his party is chosen. He will also continue his role as a TD for his Dublin West constituency. 

Header image via RTÉ Player


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