In his weekly address to party members, he said he was facing into a time of "great change"
Outgoing Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has reflected on his time as party leader in weekly address, calling his time in charge "an honour and a privilege".
In this week's party message, the outgoing Taoiseach considered the history of the party at his helm, sayng he was on the cusp of "great change" politically and personally.
"When I was elected leader of Fine Gael in 2002, our Party was at a very low ebb having just suffered the worst election result in its modern history," he wrote. "Indeed, many commentators went as far as to predict that Fine Gael would slide into political extinction. So of course the challenge ahead was not something I underestimated."
He continued to say he endeavoured to devote all of his energy to rebuilding the party and restoring ts electoral strength, calling it a "a very slow, laborious and difficult task".
As Ireland faces into Brexit negotiations, Mr Kenny said it was "more crucial than ever" that the Government continues to work to secure the best possible outcome for the country.
"The political climate in Ireland today, though unprecedented and challenging, also presents great opportunity," he added. "I believe that the Fine Gael Party has very solid foundations and a strong track record in Government, which will ensure its bright future in Irish politics.
"I am now happy to pass on the baton of responsibility in an orderly manner. I have served for 42 years as a Fine Gael deputy, fought 13 elections, been Party Leader for 15 years, Taoiseach for 6 years and saw 2 successive Fine Gael Governments put in place!
"I have done my time and my thing, and the country is now better prepared for the future [...] It has truly been my honour and my privilege."
Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar officially declared his candidacy today, with the backing of Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe.
Earlier this week, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney threw his hat into the ring. He released his official campaign video this evening.