THE Mayor of South Dublin has resigned from Labour in what will come as a New Year's blow to the party leadership.
Dermot Looney said that he no longer feels "comfortable" being a Labour councillor and accused the party of abandoning the "most basic principles of social democracy".
Mr Looney, who was elected as mayor of South Dublin in June, will now contest the local elections as an independent in the Templeogue-Terenure ward.
The news will come as a blow to the party leadership given that Mr Looney is one of Labour's youngest councillors.
More than 25 councillors have now quit Labour since 2011.
Last year, Mr Looney announced that he was taking a €7,000 pay cut and diverting the money in a 'mayor's fund' for South Dublin.
Deputy Mayor and Labour councillor Eamon Tuffy took a €3,000 pay cut. The overall €10,000 sum is currently being diverted to 50 community groups in South Dublin.
Niall O’Connor Political Correspondent