Kildare South TD Martin Heydon pays tribute to retiring Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Mayo Fine Gael TD Michael Ring has said Enda Kenny's successor will have to show the same commitment and stamina that the Taoiseach did.

In a statement on Twitter, Mr Kenny said he would retire from the post effective from midnight on Wednesday.

Kenny, Ireland's leader since 2011, said he would then stay as head of government for a "brief but appropriate period" while his designated successor holds talks with parties and independents propping up the minority government.

The Fine Gael Press Office told JOE that the parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday, which takes place at 5.30pm, has been described as a "regular meeting".

He has overseen Ireland's turnaround from entering a humiliating three-year state bailout, just months before he came to power, to becoming Europe's fastest-growing economy for the past three years.

Colleagues are counting on a new leader reviving their fortunes after falling marginally behind rivals Fianna Fail in most surveys.

National broadcaster RTE said last week that of those in the parliamentary party who had confidentially declared their support - around half - 23 favored Varadkar, the son of an Indian immigrant who is Ireland's first openly gay minister.

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.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has stated that he wants to accompany Enterprise Ireland on a trip to the U.S. next month, adding fuel to the ever-burning fire about his resignation as leader.

The party has said this lunchtime that the appointment of a new leader, in and of itself, will not require any amendment to the Confidence and Supply Arrangement with Fine Gael.

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