Leo Varadkar has announced that he is to stand down as Fine Gael Leader and he will leave the office of Taoiseach when the Dáil returns after the Easter break.

A new Fine Gael Leader will be in place by the Fine Gael Ard Fheis on Saturday 6 April.

This unexpected announcement at noon today caught some of Leo Varadkar's party colleagues by surprise.

Leo Varadkar served in public office for more than 20 years.

He had qualified as a medical doctor before moving into politics.

He first became a county councillor when he was co-opted to Fingal County Council in 2003. He went on to win a seat in the 2004 local elections, after an
unsuccessful bid five years earlier.

In 2007, he became a TD for Dublin West constituency, and was appointed to the Fine Gael front bench.

He became a Government minister in 2011 during Enda Kenny's time as Taoiseach, despite being in opposition to his leadership the year before.

He became the first openly-gay serving cabinet minister in Ireland when he came out in 2015, ahead of the Same Sex Marriage referendum later that year.

He served in various ministries before succeeding Enda Kenny as Taoiseach in June 2017.

One of the high points of his time as Taoiseach was the success of the referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment in 2018.

He led Fine Gael in the General Election in February 2020, where the party lost 15 seats and were unable to form a government.

He led the care-taker government through the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, before forging a historic three-way coalition government with Fianna Fail and the Green Party, which saw Micheál Martin take up role of Taoiseach before Leo Varadkar took over in December 2022.

Most recently his government suffered a double-defeat in the Family and Care referendums at the start of the month.

He had returned from the US and a St Patrick's Day meeting with Joe Biden in Washington last week, before announcing his resignation earlier today.



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