Cavan-Monaghan TD Sean Conlan has resigned from Fine Gael and is to run as an independent in the next general election.

Mr Conlan said he feels he can speak more freely as an independent about the North-South 'Interconnector' and other issues affecting his constituents.

He said he legally represented the Monaghan Anti Pylon Committee before he entered national politics and it is an issue close to him.

He said that he has informed the party of his decision.

Local Monaghan Cllr Hugh McElvaney has also resigned from Fine Gael, issuing his resignation last night. 

Mr Conlan was first elected to the Dail in 2011 and he has been the subject of some controversy.

Last September he was released without charge after he was arrested in connection with an alleged assault in a pub in Co Monaghan.

The incident was alleged to have occurred in the Conlan family pub in Ballybay on 23 August.

Gardaí later said that a man in his 20s was allegedly assaulted and received minor injuries which did not require hospital treatment.

Mr Conlan was released without charge and a file was to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In a statement at the time, Mr Conlan said he had ''attended the garda station in Castleblayney voluntarily to give my statement of complaint to gardaí about the assault which was perpetrated on me in my family pub last Sunday.

"I cooperated fully with the gardaí, I fully refute any allegations that I assaulted anyone," he said.

Mr Conlan also found himself in the spotlight over a €10,000 diamond ring he and his girlfriend brought home from the UK to have appraised.

The seller felt the need to contact the Taoiseach's office over the delay in completing the transaction. The ring was later returned.

Mr Conlan was also critical of the Taoiseach over the John McNulty controversy, saying there was a fear within the party that the Taoiseach was returning to the "days of stroke politics" and "the days of Charlie Haughey".

Speaking on his local radio station, Northern Sound, Mr Conlan said that although his father and grandfather had been active in Fine Gael and he himself was Fine Gael in his heart, he felt the leadership was not listening to him or the people he represented on issues like the North-South Interconnector which was at the centre of a stormy meeting in his constituency last night.

In a statement this afternoon, Fine Gael said: "We note that Sean Conlan has decided to resign from the Fine Gael party and wish him well for the future.

"Fine Gael continues to have a strong team in Cavan/Monaghan with Minister Heather Humphreys and Joe O’Reilly TD.

"The party will run a vigorous campaign in the constituency to allow us to continue our work to keep the recovery going."

It is expected that Fine Gael will run Heather Humphreys and Joe O' Reilly in the Cavan - Monaghan constituency. The party is not expected to run another candidate.