Meath West TD Peadar Toibin has resigned from Sinn Fein, weeks after he was suspended from the party after voting against abortion legislation in the Dublin parliament.
In a tweet he said he did so with “a heavy heart” after being a member of the party for 21 years.
“In that time I poured all my efforts into achieving Irish Unity & Economic Justice. This clearly is no longer enough. I will now help to build a new 32 County movement.”
In his resignation letter, he said a written deal to allow him to present his own views on abortion without being marginalised, as long as he also gave the party view, had been “binned” by Sinn Fein over 18 months ago.
“I have lost speaking rights, spokespersons positions, portfolios and have been significantly censored in my engagements with the media. These actions have prevented me from fully representing my constituents,” he said.
His efforts to address the matter, including an email to the party leadership two weeks ago, had been ignored, he added.
“I have strived in every way I know how to make space within the party for people with a different view on this one isue. For a United Ireland to be achieved, the party must be flexible, broad and inculsive.”
Mr Toibin is the second TD to resign from the party in the last five months over its new abortion stance. Offaly TD Carol Nolan also quit after Sinn Fein pivoted from a broad pro-life position to a strictly anti-abortion one, banning its representatives from voting with their conscience on the issue.
There was no immediate reaction Sinn Fein to the latest resignation, which brings their strength in the Dail down from 23 after the 2016 general election to 21 today.