Leo Varadkar stepping down as Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael

Photo © Tipp FM

Leo Varadkar made the shock announcement outside Government Buildings earlier, saying his reasons are both personal and political.

His resignation as Fine Gael leader is effective immediately, with his successor to be elected before the party’s Ard Fheis on April 16th.

A new Taoiseach will be elected following the Dáil’s Easter break.

Speaking outside Government Buildings this afternoon, Leo Varadkar said now is the right time to step away:

Local Fine Gael Senator Garret Ahearn has expressed his surprise at the announcement.

However he says a lot has been achieved during Leo Varadkar’s time as Taoiseach.

“An awful lot of good things have been done over that period – a lot of things in Tipperary have been achieved particularly in terms of Tipperary University Hospital, money towards Kickham Barracks, the Garda Station, funding towards Cahir and Carrick on Suir and all of these projects wouldn’t have really happened without the personal involvement of the Taoiseach.”

Clonmel Fine Gael County Councillor Michael Murphy has also expressed his shock at the decision.

He says he spoke with Leo Varadkar just last week.

“I didn’t see it coming. I was with the Taoiseach last week at the EPP congress in Bucharest. We talked about many different issues including my ambition for reform of local government and I certainly didn’t get the impression that there was such a seismic decision imminent on his own behalf.”