Brian Cowen's wife Mary and daughters Maedhb and Sinead watched from the Dáil's visitors' gallery today as Mr Cowen became Taoiseach.
Former Taoiseach and Mr Cowen’s former mentor Albert Reynolds was also present.
Mr Cowen also accepted the seal of office from President Mary McAleese after his Dáil appearance.
Tributes were paid in the chamber to Mr Cowen by Mr Kenny and Mr Gilmore as well as Laois-Offaly constituency colleagues John Moloney, Sean Fleming, Charlie Flanagan and Olwyn Enright.
Mr Cowen is expected to make few changes to the outgoing Cabinet, due to be announced around 6pm.
At the very least, he will be forced to fill his dual Finance Minister and Tánaiste roles, which have now fallen vacant.
Arts, Sport and Tourism Minister Seamus Brennan has also stepped down from office after suffering recent poor health.
Some protesters gathered outside the Dáil today to protest at conditions in schools. They called on the new Taoiseach to turn his attention to schools in need of repair and rebuilding as a priority.