The Chairman of the Fine Gael parliamentary party Martin Heydon TD, has praised Enda Kenny’s role as leader of Fine Gael after he announced he was stepping down with immediate effect as party leader at this evenings parliamentary party meeting.

“Under Enda Kenny as Taoiseach, we saw a devastated economy repaired, long ignored social issues addressed, and the rebirth of a self-confident Ireland.

His leadership of Fine Gael from 2002 has brought us to our most successful period in Government as the largest party in Dáil Éireann for the last two terms.

His leadership style was compassionate, pragmatic and inclusive, building a strong team which he led with energy and enthusiasm. Having inherited a country and an economy that was decimated by mismanagement, Enda’s strong leadership and ability to make hard decisions was recognised both at home and abroad and saw our international reputation restored and strengthened.

In focussing on job creation, which saw 206,000 jobs created since the establishment of the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012, Enda Kenny followed Fine Gael’s key guiding principles of enterprise and reward for those who look to work and contribute to society, while creating and supporting a fairer society for those who are vulnerable and in need of support.

Our principle of equality of opportunity was never more evident than when Enda led the marriage equality referendum to a resounding victory in 2015. His determination to deal with longstanding issues such as an apology for survivors of the Magdalene laundries, the children’s rights referendum, and legislating for the X Case after over two decades of inaction by six different governments who ignored a Supreme Court ruling, are a mark of the man.

He fostered and encouraged a generational change in our party, which while being the largest party in Dáil Éireann now also has one of the youngest age profiles. Thanks to Enda Kenny, Fine Gael has an abundance of talented representatives, who have an ever increasing experience of governing.

On behalf of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, I would like to thank Enda Kenny for his remarkable service to our country and our party. I would also like to acknowledge the sacrifices made by his wife Fionnuala, and their children Aoibhinn, Ferdia and Naoise which allowed Enda be the great leader that he has been.