TAOISEACH Enda Kenny will retire as Fine Gael leader, with effect from midnight on Wednesday.
The Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar is the 2/5 favourite to succeed Mr Kenny as party leader, while one time favourite, Housing Minister Simon Coveney is the 7/4 second favourite. Fianna Fáil leader Michael Martin is the current 1/2 favourite to be Taoiseach after the next General Election, with Leo Varadkar next at 9/4.
In a statement following the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Kenny said, “Last year I indicated I would not lead the Fine Gael party into the next General Election. 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.
After 15 years at the helm, including two stints as Taoiseach, Mr Kenny wants the party executive to expedite hand over process by June 2 but stressed that he will continue to perform his duties as Taoiseach until a new leader has been elected.