It's not a total shock that Marc MacSharry has resigned from Fianna Fáil as he had been on a collision course with leadership for some time.

But he didn't go quietly, releasing a blistering resignation letter early this morning.

In it, he firmly took aim at the higher echelons of the party and the leadership of Taoiseach Micheál Martin, accusing them of mishandling a complaint made against him by a councillor.

The party rejects that assertion and insists the complaint was being investigated in line with party policy.

His now former parliamentary party colleagues do not appear to have a huge amount of sympathy for his predicament.

Yes, some do feel the complaint was being used against him to delay his readmittance to the party. But they feel he should have waited out a process that would certainly have ended with him returning to the fold.

One minister said the Sligo-Leitrim TD had made his choice as there was a pathway back for him. "He decided to resign rather than resolve and that was his decision."

Others felt he frequently attracted negative coverage to Fianna Fáil and that was damaging the party.

Kildare North TD James Lawless said: "It's hard to escape the conclusion that Marc brought a lot of this on himself and that the parliamentary party has been quieter, and more productive, over the last year without all the drama."

Some, including Barry Cowen, say the conclusion of the events that led to his departure has been unfortunate and disappointing.

Cork East TD James O'Connor said it was a huge loss to the party to lose the MacSharry name.

"I believe this was entirely avoidable and I’m deeply saddened that Marc's career in Fianna Fáil has come to an end as a consequence of a dispute with a councillor in our party. "

Mr MacSharry has said e will concentrate on his constituency work as an independent.

For the Government, this doesn't actually change the numbers as Mr MacSharry had resigned the party whip a year ago. Numbers are tight but several independents and the two Green TDs currently outside of their party whip have frequently voted with the Government.

In particular, confidence votes have been won relatively comfortably.

For Micheál Martin, this removes a headache for his leadership and puts an outspoken critic firmly outside the tent. Mr MacSharry’s departure also reduces the numbers of those who may be contemplating a move against the leadership.

But for the Fianna Fáil party, this represents a serious blow to its hopes of retaining what was a relatively safe seat in Sligo-Leitrim.

They have lost a valuable brand in the well-respected MacSharry name. If he runs as an independent next time round, he is likely to eat into the Fianna Fáil vote.

Whether he would succeed is impossible to tell, particularly as well-established Independent Marian Harkin is already in the constituency.

What's more likely is he would split the existing Fianna Fáil vote. In 2020, the party polled just under 22% in the four-seater.

But most agree he could have retained his seat if he remained in Fianna Fáil. Sinn Féin will be pushing hard for two seats with Martin Kenny comfortably topping the poll last time out.

And with Fianna Fáil on 16% in the most recent Business Post/Red C poll, it needs all the safe seats it can get.