John Leahy, the leader of the Renua Ireland party, has announced that he is to step down from the role and he is leaving the party.

The Offaly County councillor was the party's only candidate to get elected in last month's local elections. He will now become an independent member of that local authority, leaving the future survival of that party in doubt. 

The party set up by former Fine Gael TD Lucinda Creighton in March 2015 contested its first local elections on 24 May. 

Renua ran 27 local election candidates and sources within the fledgling party said prior to the election that it was looking at winning in the range of between five and seven seats.

The local elections were the party's first electoral test since the 2016 general election, where it won no seats.

Before polling day, one Renua source described last month's elections as "a vital building block for the next general election".

Given that the party's sole councillor has stepped down as leader, and the party failed to win a seat in the European elections, it is unclear if the party will contest elections in future. 

"To use a GAA analogy. I have been manager of a team for three years. We are after having our first major championship match and I have failed to win it," said Mr Leahy.

"Politics is like the GAA, you need to build on success. I have not managed to get anyone else elected after three years so it is time to step down." 

Mr Leahy was first elected to Offaly County Council in the Ferbane local electoral area as an independent in 2009. After unsuccessfully contesting the 2011 general election as an independent, he joined Renua Ireland in 2015.

He garnered over 4,500 votes in the 2016 general election as a Renua Ireland candidate but that was not enough to secure a Dáil seat. 

Based on its percentage share of the vote it received in that general election, Renua Ireland has been entitled to €100,000 in State funding since then.