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Ireland’s Prime Minister Announces Resignation

The Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar has announced his decision to step down as the party leader immediately and will resign as Taoiseach as soon as his Fine Gael successor is selected.

In his resignation announcement, Mr. Varadkar expressed that leading his country has been “the most fulfilling time of my life.”

He made history in 2017 by becoming Ireland’s youngest PM when he assumed the leadership of Fine Gael.

Currently, he leads the coalition government in Dublin, in partnership with Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.

Addressing the public from the steps of government buildings in Dublin on Wednesday, Mr. Varadkar highlighted his achievements, stating that he has “led Ireland from unemployment to full employment, from budget deficit to budget surplus, from austerity to prosperity.””led Ireland from unemployment to full employment, from budget deficit to budget surplus, from austerity to prosperity”.

Mr Varadkar said he felt he was not he was the "best person for the job anymore".
Mr Varadkar said he felt he was not he was the “best person for the job anymore”.

Mr Varadkar added that he was “proud that we have made the country a more equal and more modern place when it comes to the rights of children, the LGBT community, equality for women and their bodily autonomy”.

During his tenure as Taoiseach, Mr. Varadkar championed referendums to amend the Irish constitution, legalizing same-sex marriage and abortion. Additionally, he prioritized efforts to enhance the affordability of childcare, citing it as one of his accomplishments. Moreover, Mr. Varadkar significantly augmented government spending on various sectors including arts and culture, international development, and public infrastructure.

He also conceded that “there are areas where we have been much less successful” adding “I hope you’ll forgive me if I leave it to others to point them out on a day like this.”

Why did Leo Varadkar resign?

Mr Varadkar said his reasons for stepping down were “both personal and political”.

He said that he felt that the current government “could be re-elected” but he he did not feel he was the “best person for the job anymore”.

The Irish government parties have said that they do not expect Wednesday’s announcement to trigger a general election.

Nick Bradshaw
Nick Bradshaw

In the 2020 Irish general election, Mr. Varadkar guided his party to a third-place finish in terms of the number of seats in Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the country’s parliament.

As part of the coalition agreement between the parties, it was decided that Mr. Varadkar and Micheál Martin would each serve as Taoiseach for a two-year term.

Micheál Martin said he was "surprised" when he heard that Mr Varadkar was stepping down
Micheál Martin said he was “surprised” when he heard that Mr Varadkar was stepping down

In 2020, Mr. Martin was appointed as the Taoiseach, with Mr. Varadkar serving as his Tánaiste (deputy PM). However, the roles were swapped in 2022.

Following Mr. Varadkar’s announcement of resignation, Mr. Martin expressed his surprise at the decision.

“I want to take the opportunity to thank him sincerely, we got on very well,” Mr Martin added.

Mr. Martin affirmed his dedication to serving the entirety of the coalition government’s term.

Eamon Ryan, head of the Green Party, the smallest member of the coalition, praised Mr. Varadkar as “a dynamic and devoted leader of the nation, always standing by his government peers.”

Mr. Ryan expressed anticipation for the Fine Gael leadership competition and the subsequent appointment of a new Taoiseach.

In the meantime, he assured that the government would persist in carrying out their duties as mandated.

“I would like to offer my good wishes to Leo as he prepares to depart the taoiseach’s office,” he added.

First Minister Michelle O'Neill called for a general election in the Republic of Ireland
First Minister Michelle O’Neill called for a general election in the Republic of Ireland

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, extended his well wishes to Leo Varadkar upon his resignation.

A spokesperson for the PM conveyed that they would continue to collaborate closely with both Varadkar and his successor.

Emphasizing the importance of the relationship, the spokesperson stated, “Ireland remains a crucial partner of the UK.”

Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Michelle O’Neill, expressed her view that it was appropriate for there to be an election in the Republic of Ireland at this time.

“Now is not the time for rearranging the deck chairs,” remarked the Vice President of Sinn Féin.

She characterized Fine Gael’s tenure in power as “13 years of failure.”

Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly noted that “Leo Varadkar and unionism seldom saw eye to eye, if ever.”

Nonetheless, the Democratic Unionist Party MLA extended her best wishes to him.

Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins was told of the taoiseach’s intention to resign shortly before Wednesday’s press conference and the pair spoke immediately afterwards.

A spokesman for the president said: “Over the course of this, the president thanked the taoiseach for his service.”

The President thanked the Taoiseach for his service.

Disclaimer: This article has been generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and may not be 100% accurate or reflect the human point of view. The published images are not generated by AI. The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. It is recommended to verify the accuracy of the data and consult experts in case of doubts or need for specific information. We are not responsible for any damage, loss or injury that may result from the use of this information.

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