Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Irish PM Enda Kenny confirms he will step down as Taoiseach

Enda Kenny arrived at Government Buildings in Dublin to chair his final cabinet meeting Credit: PA

Irish prime minister Enda Kenny has confirmed his long-awaited decision to step down as Taoiseach.

Mr Kenny said he would step down back in May, but Tuesday saw him host his final cabinet meeting in Government Buildings in Dublin.

"This has never been about me but always about the problems and challenges that the people of our country face," Mr Kenny said.

The veteran Fine Gael politician, who is the country's longest serving Taoiseach, delivered a relatively short valedictory address to the Dáil parliament.

He recalled the will of Michael Davitt, the republican and agrarian campaigner who founded the Irish National Land League in the 19th century, who said he left "kind thoughts" to his friends, to others forgiveness and to Ireland "my undying prayer" for "absolute freedom and independence".

Mr Kenny took office in early 2011 and led a coalition government with Labour as Ireland exited the multi-billion euro bailout brought on by the crippling banking and economic collapse.

He oversaw several years of painful austerity as part of attempts to stabilise the Republic's finances.

The new Taoiseach is set to be Leo Varadkar, Ireland's first openly gay cabinet minister.