The Labour Party Chairman of Wicklow County Council has resigned from the party, accusing it of breaking promises made prior to the last general election.

Councillor Jimmy O'Shaughnessy said the recent Budget was the final straw after the old and the young were hit so hard.

Mr O'Shaughnessy, a party member for almost 40 years, said the axing of phone allowances for older people and the cut in dole for those aged under 26 was a step too far.

He said: "This was not an easy decision. I've been trying to speak out for the last three years but those in the higher echelons of the party keep slapping me on the wrist.

"I am old Labour and can't stand over these cuts. I will not join another party and will become an independent councillor."

He is the third Labour member of Wicklow County Council to leave the party, after councillors Tom Fortune and Barry Nevin departed last summer.

Yesterday a former mayor of Dublin, Councillor Paddy Bourke, left the party, while Killarney Town Councillor Seán O'Grady resigned from Labour earlier this week.