The resignation of Donegal North East TD Dr James Mc Daid continues to dominate news both locally and nationally this evening following this morning's shock announcement.
Today's events moved speedily. Rumours began circulating this morning that Dr James Mc Daid was resigning from Dail Eireann, and just after half past two this afternoon, Ceann Comhairle Seamus Kirk made it official.
Dr Mc Daid says he hopes his resignation will expedite a general election. In a letter to the Taoiseach Brian Cowen last week, Dr McDaid called for an election before the budget, saying he believes a strong government with a large majority is needed. That's a point he echoed on today's Shaun Doherty Show.
Tanaiste and Donegal South West Deputy Mary Coughlan says while she and the government regret Dr Mc Daid's decision, they don't accept his assertion that an immediate election is necessary.
Ms Coughlan says Dr Mc Daid's aspiration of a government with a 20 to 30 seat majority is not achievable.
Meanwhile, Chief Whip John Curran says the govenrment has enough support to get the budget passed, and was not relying on Dr Mc Daid. He says while Dr Mc Daid has supported the government, his vote was not taken for granted.
One of the first politicians to pay tribute to Dr Mc Daid this morning was Donegal North East Fianna Fail Deputy Niall Blaney, whose relationship with Dr Mc Daid has been strained since the amalgamation of Fianna Fail and Independent Fianna Fail.
Deputy Blaney admits they have not always seen eye to eye, but says he has always respected the contribution that James Mc Daid has made to politics in Donegal.
The other TD in Donegal North East is Fine Gael's Joe Mc Hugh - He says having attended a meeting with Dr.McDaid last night, he's shocked at today's announcement.
Inevitable, this decision will raise questions about a By-Election in Donegal North East, and who may represent Fianna Fail in a future poll.
One possible candidate will be Senator Cecilia Keavney, who lost her Dail seat in 2007.
However, she's declining to comment on whether she will seek a nomination, saying today is a day to reflect on Dr Mc Daid's achievements. She says she was first elected to the Dail in a By-Election in 1996, and Dr Mc Daid was instrumental in securing her election.
Report by Donal Kavanagh