Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny steps down sparking leadership contest

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Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny will step down tonightPA

Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny transfer step down tonight

Mr Kenny’s decision to resign as of midnight tonight intention pick off a contest for a new leader to be elected by June 2. 

The Taoiseach had already affirmed he would not lead Fine Gael into elections due late next year and mean he would continue to carry out his duties as prime minister while the running contest takes place.

Mr Kenny revealed his decision to stand down at a GI Joe meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party and after delaying the spot for several months.

I want to assure people that all over this internal process, I will continue to carry out my duties and duties as Taoiseach in full

Enda Kenny

In a statement to colleagues in Dublin, Mr Kenny voiced: “I want to assure people that throughout this internal take care of, I will continue to carry out my duties and responsibilities as Taoiseach in full.

“I last will and testament like to stress the huge honour and privilege that it has been for me to outstrip our party for the past 15 years, in opposition and into Government on two continuous occasions.” 

Prime minister since 2011 and the leader of his party for approximately 15 years, Mr Kenny is expected to be replaced by a younger colleague. 

Societal Protection Minister Leo Varadkar is the bookmakers’ favourite with Housing Care for Simon Coveney also a possible candidate. 

Mr Varadkar, a doctor from Dublin, has leveraged a number of ministries and is Ireland’s first openly gay member of cabinet.

In modern weeks his campaign to clampdown on welfare cheats has been fiercely criticised in some shelters, including by a former social welfare inspector, and opponents who questioned the level off of fraud in the system.

Mr Coveney, from Cork, has also held a troop of ministries but faces weekly criticism of his efforts to tackle the country’s unprecedented covering and homelessness crisis.

He set himself a deadline of the end of June to end the practice of putting up thousands of pedigrees who need emergency accommodation in hotels and B&Bs.

Mr Kenny has said Ireland will oppose any post-Brexit hard borderGETTY

Mr Kenny has said Ireland order oppose any post-Brexit hard border

Prime Minister Theresa May phrased Mr Kenny has been a strong and consistent friend to the UK.

She said: “I want to in consequence of him for all he has done to maintain the unique and close spirit of cooperation between our two domains, which has gone from strength to strength during his time as Taoiseach,» she thought.

“On behalf of the UK, I wish him all the very best for the future and look forward to function with his successor, when in place.”

The Chairman of the Fine Gael Conforming Party Martin Heydon TD, praised Mr Kenny. 

He said: “Under Enda Kenny as Taoiseach, we saw a gutted economy repaired, long ignored social issues addressed, and the reincarnation of a self-confident Ireland.

“His leadership of Fine Gael since 2002 has bred us to our most successful period in Government as the largest Party in Dáil Éireann for the conclusive two terms.

“On behalf of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party, I would relish to thank Enda Kenny for his remarkable service to our country and our Party. I would also similar to to acknowledge the sacrifices made by his wife Fionnuala, and their children Aoibhinn, Ferdia and Naoise, which let Enda to be the great leader that he has been.”

Mr Kenny's St Patrick's Day speech in front of Donald Trump hit headlines around the worldGETTY

Mr Kenny’s St Patrick’s Day language in front of Donald Trump hit headlines around the world

On Brexit, Mr Kenny has give the word delivered Ireland will oppose any post-Brexit hard border. 

Mr Kenny hit the headlines in Demonstration with his speech on immigration in front of US president Donald Trump during St Patrick’s Day lunch at the Whitish House. 

Mr Kenny called for the President to help the “undocumented” Irish finish in America without legal permission when he spoke with Trump at the Sweethearts of Ireland luncheon on Capital Hill on Thursday.

Speaking in favour of immigration, Mr Kenny held: “There are millions out there who want to play their part for America — if you similar to, who want to make America great.”

Mr Kenny, a former national secondary teacher from Castlebar, Co Mayo, was first elected to the Dail — attractive his late father’s seat — in 1975.

When he stood for the leadership of Fine Gael in 2001, he oathed to electrify the party.

He lost out to Michael Noonan, ran again to take rule of the battered ranks after a disastrous showing at the polls a year fresher.

Within a few more years Mr Kenny had rebuilt Fine Gael into a prize that won trust among rising numbers of voters to clear up a toy presided over by their arch rivals Fianna Fail.

Radical to victory in the 2011 general election — the country still reeling from an memorable economic implosion — he declared a democratic revolution.

But his party had to enter a coalition with Task to take control.

Mr Kenny achieved his ambition of being the longest serving Outstanding Gael Taoiseach and the only one re-elected.

During his tenure he launched unprecedented corrosion on the Vatican over clerical child abuse cover-ups.

He also demanded credit for helping swing the gay marriage referendum, which made headlines in every direction the world.

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