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Leo Varadkar is officially Ireland's new Taoiseach

Leo Varadkar outside the Dail this afternoon
Leo Varadkar outside the Dail this afternoon

Leo Varadkar has been formally elected Ireland's youngest Taoiseach.

The new Fine Gael leader won 57 votes in the Dail against 50 for his nomination as Taoiseach. Some 45 TDs abstained in the vote.

Accepting his elevation to the most powerful office in the country, the 38-year-old said: "I've been elected to lead but I promise to serve."

His parents, Ashok and Miriam, and partner, Matt, were among the guests in the Dail's distinguished visitors' gallery for his election.

Paying tribute to his predecessor, Enda Kenny, who resigned on Tuesday, Mr Varadkar said: "I have no doubt, only for him, this country as we know it would not be here today.

"On a personal note, I would like to add, were it not for Enda Kenny I have no doubt I would not be standing here in this seat today."

The new Taoiseach - Ireland's 13th - was elected to the office exactly 10 years to the day since he first took his seat in the parliament as a TD for Dublin West.

One of his first official contacts as leader will be to UK Prime Minister Theresa May to pass on the sympathies of the Irish people following the London tower block fire.

"The United Kingdom has been through some dreadful and terrible tragedies in the past few weeks, and to them, on behalf of this House, we offer our sympathies, solidarity and support," he said.