Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Eric Varadkar to resign

Leo Eric Varadkar on Wednesday announced that he is soon resigning as prime minister of Ireland — just days after meeting with President Biden in Washington, D.C.

At a press conference, Varadkar said he is resigning as president of the Fine Gael Party effective on Wednesday.

He said he will also step down from the prime minister role, known as Taoiseach, once a successor is ready to take the role. An election will be held before April 16.

Varadkar has served as Taoiseach since December 2022, and previously from 2017 to 2020.

In his farewell remarks, Varadkar championed several achievements, including how Ireland has welcomed more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees since Russia’s invasion.

“Of course, there are areas in which we’ve been much less successful and some in which we have sadly gone backwards, but I hope you’ll forgive me if I leave it to others to point them out on a day like this. They will receive plenty of airtime and column space,” he said. “I know this will come as a surprise to many people and a disappointment to some, and I hope at least you’ll understand my decision. I know that others will, how should I put it, cope with the news just fine. That is the great thing about living in a democracy.”


Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, presents President Biden with a bowl of Shamrocks during a St. Patrick’s Day reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Sunday. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

“There’s never a right time to resign from high office; however, this is as good a time as any. Budget 2024 is done. Negotiations have not yet commenced on the next one. The institutions of the Good Friday Agreement are working again, and our trading relationship with the UK in the post-Brexit era is settled and stable,” he said.

“My reasons for stepping down are both personal and political,” he said, adding that he will remain in the Teachta Dála, or lower house of Parliament, position for Dublin West.

“Politicians are human beings, and we have our limitations. We give it everything we can’t anymore, and then we have to move on,” he said. “I know inevitably there will be speculation as to the quote, unquote real reason for my decision. These are the real reasons. That’s it. I have nothing else lined up. I have nothing in mind. I have no definite personal or political plans. But I’m really looking forward to having the time to think about them.”

Varadkar, who has celebrated Ireland’s evolution from an overwhelmingly conservative, Roman Catholic country to an increasingly diverse and socially liberal society, conceded defeat earlier this month when two constitutional amendments he supported that would have broadened the definition of family and removed language about a woman’s role in the home were quashed in a referendum vote. The prime minister admitted “clearly, we got it wrong” regarding what he had beforehand deemed “very old-fashioned language.”

The prime minister has also been criticized as a globalist amid government-supported mass migration into Ireland that has driven the rise of the Irish Lives Matter countermovement.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar speaks during the annual Friends of Ireland luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Friday. (Nathan Howard/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Last week, Varadkar was in Washington, D.C., and visited the White House to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Biden played host to Varadkar at the White House and then the two attended a luncheon at the U.S. Capitol as the two countries celebrated a century of diplomatic relations.


House Speaker Mike Johnson hosted the president and Varadkar for the annual “Friends of Ireland Luncheon” at the Capitol. Johnson introduced the president as “America’s most famous Irishman.” Biden used the event to push for foreign aid to support Ukraine as it fights against Russia, for Israel, as well as provide humanitarian assistance to people in Gaza.

Varadkar used his remarks at the luncheon to thank the U.S. for its work to bring peace between Ireland and Northern Ireland — part of the U.K. — with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. But he turned to the war in Ukraine, as the House has stalled in passing additional U.S. aid for the country.

From left: Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, President Biden and House Speaker Mike Johnson exit the U.S. Capitol following the annual Friends of Ireland luncheon in Washington, D.C., on Friday. (Nathan Howard/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“Ukraine must not fall and together, we need to stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Varadkar said. “We look forward to working with America for the next 100 years.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @danimwallace. 

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