Frances Fitzgerald has resigned. It follows a week of political fallout over the handling of the garda whistleblower scandal, and an email thread sent two years ago.
There had been mounting pressure on the Tánaiste to quit, with the threat a snap election could be called over Christmas if she didn't.
A no-confidence motion in the Tánaiste was due to be tabled in the Dáil tonight which could have toppled the government.
Frances Fitzgerald told cabinet she felt she'd be vindicated by the Disclosures Tribunal - and that she was resigning in the national interest.
Statement by Frances Fitzgerald on her Resignation as Tánaiste and Minister
“Today I made the decision to tender my resignation to the Taoiseach, stepping-down with immediate effect as Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. It has been the greatest honour of my life to serve in Government, but I believe it is necessary to take this decision to avoid an unwelcome and potentially destabilising general election at this historically critical time.
“Throughout my career I have always sought to act with integrity and responsibility, and that is why I have decided on this occasion to put the national interest ahead of my own personal reputation. I have always believed in fairness and equality and these principles have guided my work as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, as Minister for Justice and Equality, and now as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
“I would like to thank the Taoiseach for showing the same courage and determination to protect my good name that he displayed three years ago when he stood-up and defended the reputation of Maurice McCabe. What I admire most about the Taoiseach is that he has always believed in doing what was right – not what was popular or politically expedient. I will always be grateful for his confidence and support and for giving me the opportunity to serve in a Government that is making a real difference in people’s lives at a critical time in our history.
“However, I decided that my continuation in office risks destabilising that good work, and so I have decided to step-down so that this work may continue and the country can be spared an unnecessary election. It will also allow me to vindicate my good name at the Charleton Tribunal, without causing any further distraction to the work of the Government. I have always believed in due process and I believe that in the current situation that is becoming increasingly difficult for me. I acted correctly in difficult circumstances and, in fact, did everything that I could to support the search for truth and protect whistleblowers.
“I would like to thank all those who have worked with me over the years and I am so grateful for the incredible support I received from family, friends, supporters, staff, and my constituents in Dublin Mid-West. And I look forward to continuing to serve all the people of Dublin Mid-West."