Monday, May 20, 2024

Leo Varadkar steps down as taoiseach for ‘personal and political’ reasons – follow live – BBC News

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We are hearing from the party leaders in the Dáil (lower house of Irish parliament), with Sinn Féin’s leader Mary Lou McDonald, who is leader of the opposition, opening proceedings.

She urges Leo Varadkar to call for an early election, adding it is “unthinkable” the next taoiseach (Irish PM) is chosen by a “conclave” of Fine Gael politicians.

“This is a time for fresh leadership. Not just a change of taoiseach, but a change of government, and a change of direction,” she says.

She claims that when Fine Gael took power in 2011 Ireland had one of the highest levels of homeownership in Europe, and this has declined to one of the worst since.

“This government has now run out of steam and run out of road, so rather than limping on in a caretaking capacity,” she says.

“Let’s go to the people, they decide who leads.”

Responding, Varadkar points out that there are many examples throughout Ireland’s history of leadership being transferred without an election taking place.

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