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Today marks Enda Kenny's final day as Taoiseach – a postilion he has held for the last six years.

The outgoing Fine Gael leader will chair his final cabinet meeting this morning where the agenda is likely to be rounded off with a formal resignation from Mr Kenny.

At 2:00pm this afternoon, the Dáil will resume and it is thought that he will tell TDs and the nation that he is stepping down.

It is likely that Enda Kenny will then give a short farewell speech before travelling to Aras an Uachtarán where he will hand in his resignation to President Higgins.

Fellow party leaders will be given an opportunity to speak in reply to Mr Kenny and the Dáil is expected to adjourn until tomorrow afternoon when attentions will turn to the election of his successor and the announcement of Leo Varadkar's new Cabinet.

It is expected that many of the current ministers will remain in place, however, some may change jobs.

So, what's next for Mr Kenny?

Now aged 66, he is not expected to run the the next election, but according to The Irish Independent, one source revealed 'He would like to remain close to the political action,"

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Today, an internal election will take place in the Dail to decide who will lead the Fine Gael party. 

Members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party will vote this morning between 9am and 12 noon. 

This morning, Taoiseach Enda Kenny took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the election and candidates, and expressed words of support for both. 

'I remember this day almost 15 years ago & the sense of excitement & possibility.'

'On this very important day in their lives, I want to wish both @simoncoveney and @campaignforleo every good wish in today's election.'

'Their participation in this internal election has been democratically valuable & has energised the @FineGael party across Ireland.'

'I pledge my full support to whoever is elected, in the important work at Govt level, to which the new leader will have to dedicate their life in service of the people of this great Republic.'

'My enduring belief in the potential of this country is boundless.'

The result is expected later today.

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny has expressed his condolences to the families of those who were lost in the Manchester attack last night.

22 people were killed and a further 59 injured when a suspected suicide bomber detonated an explosive at an Ariana Grande concert in the Manchester Arena. 

'The vile acts carried out in Manchester last night are a reminder of the depravity of the views held by the few,' he said.

'Those beliefs have no place in our society.'

'My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and all those affected by this atrocity. I am heartbroken for all.'

'The city of Manchester has exceptionally close ties with our country and I extend the solidarity of the Irish Government and all our people to those affected across the UK.'

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D, has also expressed his shock.

'I am shocked and horrified by the large loss of life in Manchester last night and my thoughts and prayers are with those affected, and we stand by our nearest neighbour, the U.K. especially due to the strong links between our country and the city of Manchester,' he said in a statement. 

'The Consular Section of my Department, in conjunction with our Embassy in London is monitoring the situation and we are not at this time aware of any Irish citizens affected.'

'Anyone with concerns for family and friends can contact the Consular Division of my Department on 353 1 408 2000.'

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny has stepped down from his position as Fine Gael leader. 

Fine Gael will meet later today to officially draw up the plans for his replacement. 

However, Twitter is still reminiscing on the Mayo man's time as Taoiseach: 

 

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Enda Kenny has officially announced that he will step down as leader of Fine Gael from midnight tonight.

After months of uncertainty surrounding the party’s leadership, Mr Kenny made the long-awaited announcement during the weekly meeting of Fine Gael TDs and senators this evening.

A new leader will be announced on Friday, June 2.

As it stands, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney and Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar are deemed to be the two front-runners.

In a statement, Enda Kenny revealed he will “retire as leader from midnight tonight 17th May 2017”.

“I will continue to carry out my duties as party leader in an acting capacity, until my successor is elected through the Fine Gael leadership election process.”

“I want to assure people that throughout this internal process, I will continue to carry out my duties and responsibilities as Taoiseach in full.’’

Kenny received a standing ovation from his colleagues and was described as “very emotional” by those present. 

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Let’s face it, politics can be confusing at the best of times, but it doesn’t Enda Kenny can’t actually remember what he did or didn’t say.

Questions have been raised over whether or not the Taoiseach raised the issue of women’s rights during a trade mission to Saudi Arabia in 2014 after he made some conflicting comments on the issue.

Speaking in Toronto on Friday he said he had raised the issue of human rights ‘’which obviously includes women's rights", with the Saudi Authorities.

 ‘’Minister for Foreign Affairs Minister Flanagan has raised specifically the issue of women’s rights and that will continue to be Ireland’s position,” he added.

However, the statement conflicted with what Enda said in the Dáil at the time of the mission.

On April 1, 2014, the Taoiseach said “The issue of women’s rights was not specifically discussed,” when quizzed by Micheal Martin.

Enda replied to the confusion by saying that while the issue of human rights was discussed in Saudi Arbaia, it did not include a specific emphasis on women’s rights. 

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Blonde bombshell Pamela Anderson had been dedicating her life to animal welfare, and promotes a vegan, cruelty-free lifestyle. 

The Baywatch star has written an open letter to our Taoiseach, asking him to consider supporting a nationwide ban on wild animal circuses.

As an added incentive, she stated that she'd she'd share a pint of Guinness with him if he took action amd implemented the ban. 

"I was excited to learn from my friends at PETA that a bill has been put forward to ban wild animal circuses in Ireland. As a longtime animal advocate, I give the bill my full support—and I hope it has yours, too," reads the letter, addressed to the Taoiseach. 

"Animals in circuses never benefit from "the luck of the Irish." Instead, they're denied everything that is natural and important to them."

"They spend their lonely lives constantly on the move, transported in cramped conditions, and shackled or caged for hours on end. And they don't perform tricks such as jumping through rings of fire or dancing on their hind legs for fun—but out of fear of punishment."

"Today, most decent people see animal circuses for what they are: cruelty. Consequently—as I was pleased to hear—towns and cities across Ireland are overwhelmingly passing motions to ban them from public land."

"I truly hope Ireland seizes this opportunity to implement a national ban and joins the ever-growing list of countries that have banished this archaic form of so-called 'entertainment.'"

"I would love nothing more than to visit your beautiful country and raise a glass of Guinness (I hear it's vegan now!) with you when that day arrives. Sincerely yours, Pamela Anderson."

The ISPCA has also previously backed the ban.

"The ISPCA is completely opposed to the use of wild animals in circuses as by their very nature, circuses cannot provide sufficient space and appropriate conditions to guarantee the physical and psychological well-being of their animals, especially social species like elephants," reads a statement on their site. 

We're pretty sure most people would hop to it if it meant having a drink with Pammy, but we think Enda should do it for the sake of the animals. 

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny has received global recognition for his speech about Irish immigration in Washington.

Using the annual St Patrick's day visit to discuss the contribution of the Irish community in the US, the Taoiseach used the shamrock ceremony speech to “lecture” President Trump on immigration.

"Four decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp we were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore.

"We believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America. We came and became Americans," he said, as Trump looked on.

Now, Twitter is full of praise for Enda's speech from people from all over the world, but some Irish folk are claiming that the praise is misguided. 

"Do you know how Ireland treats asylum seekers? it's a system called "direct provision" and it's brutal, worse than you can imagine," said one, referring to the short-term accommodation that asylum seekers live in in Ireland. 

Others found it hypocritical that Enda would refer to people leaving their countries due to a lack of liberty, while some feel that Irish women are currently being deprived of their reproductive rights due to the 8th amendment to the constitution.

The 8th amendment, which has come under much opposition in recent years thanks to the work of The Abortion Rights Campaign and the Repeal project, means that Irish women face up to 14 years in prison for obtaining an abortion, and must flee the country to procure these services safely. 

However, the majority of people feel that the Taoiseach's speech was a subtle burn directed toward's the POTUS and his travel ban.

"I don't like Enda Kenny and I doubt I ever will, but the speech he made was brave and respectable," said one. 

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny will make a speech in the Dáil recognising Traveller ethnicity today. 

 It is thought that the speech will officially formalise the unique identity of Travellers.

Traveller rights groups have been campaigning for an official status for many years, and today is being marked as a "historic day" for Traveller rights by groups such as Pavee Point. 

A post from the group on Twitter said that the Taoiseach's speech would “mark an historic and hugely important day for Travellers.”

"We want every Traveller in Ireland to be proud of who they are and to say that we're not a failed set of people," said former director of the Irish Traveller Movement Brigid Quilligan, speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

"We have our own unique identity and we shouldn't take on all of the negative aspects of what people think about us."

"We should be able to be proud and for that to happen our state needed to acknowledge our identity and our ethnicity and they're doing that today."

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Over 20,000 people have signed an online petition urging Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to boycott the annual St Patrick's Day visit to the United States.

Reacting to President Trump's executive order which prevents immigrants from seven Muslim countries from entering the United States, thousands of Irish people have added their names to the campaign.

Shared on Uplift over the weekend, the Not In My Name petition has gained a considerable amount of traction  – something which has surprised the campaign's director Siobhán O' Donoghue.

"It’s rare we see petitions grow this quickly and gather this much momentum on social media in such a short space of time," she acknowledged.

Elaborating on the fervour behind the campaign, Siobhán explained that its popularity stems from the Irish public's desire to see their leader challenge the ideals of the US president.

"This shows that people in Ireland are disgusted by the behaviour of Donald Trump since he became president nine days ago, and want to see Enda Kenny show real leadership and courage in the face of such blatant racism and fascism on the part of Donald Trump," she said.

Many of those who signed the petition also made the decision to share their reasons with those visiting the website.

"I wasn't going to sign cause I could see how pragmatic politics needs to protect jobs etc. But seeing people with green cards turned away today? Sure there's no appeasing him, he could turn on Ireland for no reason," wrote one.

"So there's no reason to collude with the madness. 'stand for something or you'll fall for anything Ireland," they added.

Twitter is currently awash with similar sentiments from the public, with one social media user writing: "Don't meet @realDonaldTrump & think you're representing Irish people."

"I'm a constituent, and I want @EndaKennyTD to know that I do not support the St. Patrick's visit to the USA #notinmyname," added another.

For more than two decades, Taoisigh have visited the White House in order to present the American President with a bowl of shamrock.

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Well, it's safe to say Enda Kenny isn't the most popular among the Irish people at the moment.

After congratulating Donald Trump on his presidential victory on behalf of the people of Ireland, Enda angered many of us, as we, in no way, wanted to wish Trump well.

However, now the Taoiseach has met with Vice-President-elect Mike Pence and praised him for knowing about "our issues."

After Mr Kenny met with Mike, he took to Twitter to praise the new VP.

"Had a really good conversation tonight with US VP Elect Mike Pence. He certainly knows Ireland and the issues that matter to our people."

Many were shocked and confused by this, and took to Twitter to vent their views:

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Despite providing essential, often life-saving services within our health system, newly-qualified nurses in this country face low starting salaries and increasingly tough working-conditions.

Understandably, the Irish Nurses And Midwives Organisation is now desperately appealing to the government to improve pay, hours, staffing levels, and post graduate opportunities.

But while unions and politicians remain embattled, ordinary, hard-working nurses are struggling – sometimes desperately so.

Indeed, recently one nurse felt compelled to take to a Facebook page that offers support to those working in the industry.

In a powerfully penned post that has now garnered significant traction online, the unnamed mother makes her compelling argument for pay restoration – whereby the penalties inflicted on the public service sector by Troika-led austerity are eased or abolished.

The nurse has chosen to remain anonymous in order to protect her husband and children; here is an extract from her post

I, like thousands of others, went to college for four years and got my nursing degree.

I got married to a tradesman. We got a mortgage for a three bedroomed house and we had two children. 

We could pay for our mortgage. We had one family holiday a year. We had two cars. Neither of us had new cars but the cars we bought got us to our jobs and back home again. 

We lived a normal life. Nothing fancy. But we got by. Then the banks and the government decided to gamble with our lives. My husband lost his job in the crash. 

And I was forced to take on all the bills including the mortgage. 

It was tough but I did OK. We sold my husband’s car for €3,000. We tightened our belts. 

Then the government decided to punish us even further for their mistakes. They introduced USC. Again we tightened our belts even further. My husband was getting the odd job here and there but his weekly wage was gone. We were struggling to get by.

Gone was the yearly holiday. Gone were the day trips away. Gone was the monthly night out for the two of us.

As if that wasn't enough punishment the government decided that because I'm a nurse, I must pay PRD (Pension Related Deduction). A tax that was only to be introduced as an emergency tax but for some reason we are still being forced to pay. 

We were already at rock bottom… but that destroyed us. Santa suddenly hadn't got a lot of money. Toys were second hand from charity shops. Food was bargain basement end of life food. And our mortgage? I just can't pay it any longer.

I try to pay some money off it but the money that I used to pay for the mortgage is now going to pay USC and PRD. Anything I have left is going on paying for heating, electricity and the kids’ food and schooling. Our heating is one fire in the sitting room and hot water bottles. 

And now the banks have decided that they're going to take our home. They're going to leave us homeless. I've tried to talk to them but they don't want to know. 

I've tried to come to a deal with them to pay off as much as I can but it isn't good enough. They are completely heartless. They want the house. 

We are now going through the repossession courts desperately trying to save the last thing we have left, our little family home. 

I'm used to being verbally and physically abused in my job. I'll never get used to the ward being constantly short staffed and always overcrowded though. Every working day is a nightmare but it's not as tough as constantly going hungry everyday and coming home to see my husband a shadow of his former self.

We were once just a normal couple going about our simple lives and now we are a very broken couple who are desperately trying to save the last thing we have left, the roof over our heads. 

And has our government even tried to help us save our home? Not at all. In fact they haven't even tried to stop the courts from taking our home at all and yet they are responsible for our home being taken from us.  

Have they tried to restore our pay? No. Instead they are trying to lay the blame at our feet that if they restore any of our pay that we will put this country into another recession. How dare they.

They talk about recovery non stop. What recovery? The only ones I see in recovery are the banks and all the self serving politicians! 

Not one of them have tried to help us and yet they're happy enough to hand themselves pay rises of €5,000 each. They make me want to vomit. None of them care. Not one of them. 

I'm a nurse. I'm no longer a proud nurse. I'm well and truly broken and I don't think I'll ever live a normal life again. 

I'm in tears writing this. My heart is just broken. We can't take much more. 

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