Marc MacSharry has resigned the Fianna Fáil party whip and will vote no confidence in Simon Coveney this evening.
In a letter to the Taoiseach, the Sligo/Leitrim TD said the party’s positioning and policy were being determined “in a fashion consistent with an undemocratic totalitarian regime rather than that of a democratic, socialist republican party of and for the people.”
He said he had requested a meeting of the Parliamentary Party to debate how members should vote int tonight’s motion; however, he said the decision on which way to vote was instead “dictated by Government without debate and without the input of Fianna Fáil elected Parliamentary Party members.
Deputy MacSharry said he can’t stand over a situation where different rules apply to different people depending on who they are.
To illustrate his argument, he pointed to a range of Government controversies over the summer including leaks from Cabinet, Merriongate, the Katherine Zappone saga and, "inconsistencies and contradictions on COVID rule interpretation together with the irreconcilable reality that the public are expected to accept that some people are expendable and others are not.”
“I was elected to serve a democratic republic, not one which applies different rules and sanctions depending on the identity or position of the people involved,” he said.
He said he had been “left with no option” but to resign the party whip effective immediately and confirmed he would vote no confidence in Simon Coveney this evening.
Deputy MacSharry said he would continue to represent the people of Sligo, Leitrim, South Donegal and North Roscommon.
“I will work to the very best of my ability in line with my Fianna Fáil traditions, its constitution and values from which the current leadership regime have unilaterally chosen to completely depart,” he said.
The move leaves Sinn Féin as the largest party in the Dáil on 37 seats. Fianna Fáil has now fallen to 36 with Fine Gael on 34.
The coalition now commands 82 Dáil votes, with 80 needed for a bare majority.