An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has announced that he is retiring as Fine Gael party leader from midnight tonight.
He made the announcement on Twitter in the past few hours (see below).
Mr Kenny has said he will remain on as Taoiseach until a new leader is elected.
In a statement, he said that he will carry out his duties in an acting capacity until his successor is elected and has asked that this be concluded by close of business on June 2.
The front runners in the leadership race are Housing Minister Simon Coveney and Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar - though Justice Minister Frances FitzGerald and Education Minister Richard Bruton have yet to rule themselves out of the race.
Mr Kenny said it has been a "huge honour and privilege" to have led the party for the past 15 years.
He said: "I intend to provide a brief but appropriate period for my successor to engage with groups and members supportive of Government, and with other Parties in the Dáil regarding provision of Government for the future".
The Taoiseach got a long standing ovation at the meeting of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party meeting, which was brought forward an hour.
It began at 4.30pm and is ongoing.
The Taoiseach's tweet earlier today: