Donegal TD, Jim McDaid

Jim McDaid, Donegal North East’s TD, has resigned from his seat in Irish Government saying that general election would be in the best interest of Fianna Fail and the Irish Government in general.

The Irish National Broadcaster, RTE, reported that an email received from McDaid, referred to a letter he sent to the Prime Minister last week. McDaid said, in the letter, that the Irish government had failed to “make any significant progress in relation to reducing our structural budget deficit”.

“Where decisions have been made, they have invariably pursued the path of least resistance, focusing on what is politically possible rather than what is economically necessary.

“Why should we have to abandon major infrastructure projects and cut frontline services in our hospitals just to keep public sector pay numbers at grossly inflated levels. Why? Because it is the option that is least likely to de-stabilize the Government.

“I am a citizen first and a member of Fianna Fáil second.”

McDaid is yet to receive a response to this letter. During talks over cutbacks at Letterkenny General Hospital, in Donegal, last month, McDaid had also threatened to withdraw his support from the government.

McDaid has been outside the Fianna Fail parliamentary party since he disagreed with their cervical cancer policy. He abstained from voting on the cancer vaccination program in 2008.

Speaking on RTE radio this morning Junior Minister, Conor Lenihan, said that McDaid’s decision had been a personal one and said that he was unaware of his reasons for resigning. He said McDaid is “a very committed person, both to his constituents and to his job. He’s not the sort of person who would give or make a half effort at a job if he felt he wasn’t going to make a contribution.”

Lenihan admitted that McDaid’s resignation would make numbers very tight for government. He said “a narrow scene is a recipe for instability”.

RTE were told on Tuesday morning by other government sources that they were not relying on McDaid’s vote to retain the majority, the vote now stands at 82:79.

Government officials have not confirmed that McDaid has resigned but it is understood that he have sent his resignation to the parliament desk.