ONE of Labour's longest-serving councillors in Dublin City has resigned in what is the latest blow to the party leadership.
Former Lord Mayor Paddy Bourke has joined a long list of Labour representatives to break ranks.
Cllr Bourke felt "highly disenchanted" with the party's role in government and made the decision after several discussions with party colleagues.
However, a senior Labour figure last night admitted that the news was "a major shock", adding: "Paddy was through all this before so we didn't see it coming."
Cllr Bourke is now expected to run as an independent in next summer's local elections.
While he did not respond to calls last night, a close colleague said he felt he had "had enough".
Labour leader in Dublin City Council, Dermot Lacey, wrote to Mr Bourke this week to express his disappointment at the decision.
"On a personal and a political level I really regret your decision. We have talked long about this and I understand your position," Cllr Lacey said.
"Irrespective of what happens in the future I want to thank you for your long record of service to the Party and the City of Dublin. I look forward to continuing our friendship and co-operation for the remainder of the term of this City Council and our friendship long after that."
Just hours after Mr Bourke's resignation, his profile was removed from the Labour Party website. "It's a shame that Paddy and others will not be with us on December 15 when we say goodbye to the Troika and when Ireland leaves the bailout programme," a party spokesman told the Herald.
More than 25 councillors have now quit Labour since 2011, and Cllr Bourke is the second politician to break ranks in the space of 24 hours.
Former Mayor of Killarney, Sean O'Grady, said he was quitting what he described as the most "ring-wing" government he has ever witnessed.
He added: "We have Labour ministers who are eternally at the forefront of announcements of cuts and bad news."