"Last year I indicated that I would not lead the Fine Gael Party into the next General Election. I have decided to implement that decision today. Therefore I will retire as Leader of Fine Gael effective from midnight tonight, 17th May 2017. I want to assure people that throughout this internal process, I will continue to carry out my duties and responsibilities as Taoiseach [prime minister] in full," Kenny said in a statement published on the party's website.
Kenny stressed that he sought "to provide a brief but appropriate period" for his successor to get acquainted with the issues, as well as engage with various political forces and groups in the parliament.
Kenny has been leading the Fine Gael party for 15 years, while in 2011 he assumed the office of the country's prime minister. Kenny was recently under pressure from party members dissatisfied with his leadership.
The new party head is set to be announced on June 2.