Micheál Martin reacts as Leo Varadkar steps down as Taoiseach


Leo Varadkar has announced he is stepping down as Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael. 

Varadkar revealed the surprising news today (March 20) while speaking outside Leinster House shortly after midday. Rumours of his resignation began earlier this morning, following today’s Cabinet meeting.

In an emotional statement, the outgoing Taoiseach explained in his speech: “I know this will come as a surprise to many people and a disappointment to some, and I hope you at least understand my decision”.


A post shared by Leo Varadkar (@leovaradkar)

The 45-year-old went on to add: “There’s never a right time to resign high office, however, this is as good a time as any.”

Noting that there is no hidden “real reason” behind his joint resignations, Varadkar stated that the causes of his decision are “both personal and political.”

Closing off his speech, Varadkar thanked his colleagues and the people of Ireland, insisting: “I promise I'll keep working for Ireland, and my community, in any way I can, in the future.”

The leaders of Fianna Fáil and the Green Party, Micheál Martin and Eamon Ryan, were personally informed by Leo Varadkar last night during their pre-Cabinet meeting.

Speaking after Varadkar’s announcement, Micheál Martin expressed his best wishes to the departing Taoiseach.

“I’d like to thank An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for his service to the country, both in his capacity as a member of Dáil Éireann as a minister, and of course as Taoiseach,” he stated in an address to the media.

“To be honest, I was surprised when I heard what he was going to do, but I want to take the opportunity to thank him sincerely," he detailed, adding: "We got on very well, we had a strong, personal relationship."

“I want to take this opportunity again to wish Leo the very best in his personal life and in his career into the future," Martin added.

In his statement, Varadkar confirmed that he expects his successor to be in place on April 9, avoiding the need for a general election.