Irish Prime Minister Kenny to Step Down

"Last year, I indicated that I would not lead the FG Party into the next General Election".

It's as there's been a groundswell of support in the west and northwest for Minister Leo Varadkar to succeed Enda Kenny.

"We are now at a crossroads, in my view".

"And also devolving a new social contract".

Kenny also said it had been a "huge honor and privilege" for him to have led the party for the past 15 years.

Meanwhile, Leo Varadkar described him as an "extraordinary Taoiseach and Fine Gael's most successful leader ever".

When asked if he would merge the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure, he said he would be publishing a paper on his policies later in the campaign.

Mr Donohoe stated his intention to vote for Mr Varadkar in an interview on RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said Mr Kenny "did his best from his perspective" but his "political legacy is dominated by crisis, chaos, and chronic lack of accountability".

His rival Simon Coveney, 44, fits the more traditional profile of a Fine Gael leader and is steeped in politics.

"I think history will judge him kindly as he led our country out of a very dark period to a position today where the economic revival is slowly spreading to the regions".

In distant third is Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, whose odds were at 22/1 last night.

He is the first Fine Gael leader to win re-election to office.

Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and Fine Gael (United Ireland Party) leader Enda Kenny said Wednesday he will retire as the party leader effective from Wednesday midnight.

Roscommon Senator Frank Feighan said he would be supporting Minister Varadkar.

Party chairman Martin Heydon was the only other person to speak at the meeting.

Kenny is the longest-serving member of the Dail, the lower house of parliament, having first been elected in 1975.

The 66-year-old had been under pressure to resign from factions within his own party that were dissatisfied with his leadership.

However, those campaigning for Mr Coveney, who has around 20 supporters so far in the parliamentary party, believe another 20 are undecided.

The regional debates, or hustings, will take place in Ballinasloe, Dublin, Carlow and Cork over four days next week.

"His dedication and determination gave Fine Gael a landslide in that year's general election", he said.

He advised people not to confuse someone who is good at putting deals together with someone who is weak.

The new leader will take over from Kenny at the European Council in its negotiations over neighbor Britain's leaving, tasked with guiding the policy response at home where Ireland's economy is widely considered the most vulnerable in the EU to the fallout.

Related news