Former minister quits politics
Former minister quits politics

Donegal North East TD Dr Jim McDaid has resigned his seat in the Dublin parliament.

Mr McDaid’s resignation is another blow to the coalition government’s fragile working majority in the Dail.

The government can count on the votes of 79 TDs while the Opposition is sure of 75. The voting intentions of seven others are more difficult to predict.

Minister of State with responsibility for Science, Technology and Innovation Conor Lenihan said the news came as a surprise for everyone in Fianna Fail. He claimed he had “no idea” as to why Mr McDaid resigned, adding that it was a personal decision.

But in a letter to the Taoiseach, Mr McDaid said a general election should have been called before the December Budget.

He said that despite some courageous and difficult decisions and the need to set tough savings targets no significant progress had been made in reducing the Exchequer deficit.

Mr McDaid said the government was taking political soft options and not tackling the real issues.

“At this point I believe that it is in the best interests of the people of Ireland that the government of Ireland has a working majority in the Dail of at least 20 seats, even if that government is compromised of parties who have traditionally stood in opposition to Fianna Fail,” Mr McDaid said.

“And I hope that government will have the strength to take on their obvious responsibilities, free from the shackles of social partnership and political Dutch auctions.”

Mr McDaid said the country would be gripped by instability and uncertainty in the spring unless a new government was brought in.

Reacting to the news, Sinn Fein Councillor Padraig MacLochlainn called on the government to call a general election.

Councillor MacLochlainn said County Donegal is now short two TDs which must be replaced at the earliest opportunity.

With four by-elections now outstanding, he said it was clear that the Government is “falling apart at the seams”.

“The Government has left the people of Donegal South West without proper representation for eighteen months up to now. This must not be allowed to happen again in Donegal North East.

“Donegal is now short two TDs and any notion that the Donegal South West by-election would be held in isolation cannot now be taken seriously.

“Both these seats, along with the seats in Dublin South and Waterford must be filled at the earliest opportunity.

“It is clear to me that the Government is now on its last legs. With four outstanding by-elections, none of which are likely to be won by the Government, the Dail majority will be stripped to the thinnest of margins. Jim McDaid’s resignation is a signal that time is now up for this Government and a general election should be called.

“This Government has no mandate for the savage cuts they are about to impose on people in the upcoming budget, they had no mandate for the billions they put into zombie banks and it had no mandate for NAMA. The Government was elected on a promise of economic growth which turned out to be a farce and it is now politically bankrupt.

“It is now time for a general election to be called.”

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