A little more than a week after his surprise announcement that he was running for a fourth term as leader of Fine Gael, Leo Varadkar is in trouble with his party.
The Fine Gael leader is on the verge of a leadership contest, and the party is in a state of chaos.
In a stunning twist, he has been stripped of his leadership.
His party, the largest in the country, is now in crisis, with no leader, deputy or parliamentary leader and no clear leader to lead the country out of the financial crash and the election in two weeks time.
It is the latest blow to an organisation that for decades has dominated Irish politics, with a mandate to help the people of Ireland in their darkest hour.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan, a former finance minister, is leading the party, and he has the support of all three of the main parties, which form the centre of the Fine Gael coalition.
The party’s leadership election is being held in the wake of the collapse of the economy and the collapse in confidence in the Irish banking system.
Mr Varadker has been the party’s leader since 2006, and his approval ratings have taken a hit, with only 48% of voters backing him as party leader.
However, his party is now on the brink of collapse, with its leader, the only female, the party has no parliamentary leader, and a clear leader in Mr Noonan.
It has also come to the end of the parliamentary term, which is the shortest term in Irish history.
Mr Varadkaryan’s term as party president expires in June 2019, with the party seeking to make a second run at the election.
The collapse of confidence in Irish banking has left the party with no clear future.
Fellow Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that Mr Vararakis election was “devastating”.
“I’m really disappointed in Leo,” he said.
“I’ve got to say that for some of the young people in my party, it’s a very, very disappointing election and they’re just devastated by it.”
They’re really disappointed.
“The party was formed in the early 1970s, and has had a reputation for its conservative and populist policies.
Its main election manifesto was a promise to cut the size of the state, to repeal a social contract, and to bring in a new currency to replace the Irish pound.
Fianna Fail, the third-biggest party in the government, is also struggling with a deep-rooted culture of mistrust.
Mr Martin said he did not know of any party leader who had not taken a political risk in the past.”
There’s no one who’s been fearless in the way that Leo has,” he added.”
But I don’t know of anybody who’s taken a risk in a position of leadership.
“It comes after the party was caught up in a scandal involving alleged tax avoidance, which the party says it is now dealing with.
Mr Noonan is the leader of the Social Democrats and the main party leader of Fiannah Tánaiste.
He said that in his view Mr Varadyans election was a “mistake”, adding that he would not have supported him in the first place if he was the party leader at the time.
He told the Irish Independent that the party would “reassess” its leadership as soon as the financial crisis was resolved.”
If we are not able to find a leader in the coming months and years that can win the support and get the party back on track, we will have a serious problem,” he warned.”
It’s going to take some time to get back on the right track, but I am confident that we are on the path.
“Mr Varadyan is expected to formally enter the race as soon the financial markets open on Wednesday.