Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Poll surge for Sinn Fein in Republic of Ireland ahead of EU and council elections

Louth TD Gerry Adams has addressed the Sinn Fein ard fheis in Wexford
Louth TD Gerry Adams has addressed the Sinn Fein ard fheis in Wexford

Sinn Fein is experiencing a surge in support in the Republic of Ireland, according to the latest opinion poll.

Three of the country's main political parties have suffered a dramatic drop in support in the wake of the spate of controversies around the Garda Siochana, a Sunday Independent MillwardBrown opinion poll reveals.

Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Fianna Fail have all registered substantial falls in support, to the benefit of Sinn Fein and Independents.

Fine Gael is down three points to 27pc and the Labour Party is down four points to eight per cent.

Fianna Fail is on 21pc, down five points.

Sinn Fein is up six points to 22pc, Independents are up five points to 20pc and the Green Party is up one point to two per cent.

The concerns over the controversies surrounding Justice Minister Alan Shatter and the Garda Siochana have hit the Coalition and former government party.

The opinion poll was taken over the past 10 days at the height of the controversies over the suspected Garda Ombudsman bugging and the Garda whistleblower allegations.

The poll shows the gains for the Coalition parties from the exit from the bailout and positive economic indicators have been wiped out, with both parties back to support levels they achieved in the second half of last year.

Fine Gael back to support level last November and the Labour Party to figures achieved through three polls last summer.

But the poll findings will also be a major blow for Fianna Fail. The party has placed enormous political capital on highlighting the controversies in the Garda Siochana.

The poll suggests, yet again, that Fianna Fail’s so-called toxic legacy has struck again, with the voters blaming the party for past failures.

Fianna Fail has dropped back to its most support levels in almost two years and is overtaken by Sinn Fein in popularity.

Coming less than three months out from the local and European elections, the timing is of enormous benefit to Sinn Fein.

Based on these figures, the party will easily elect three MEPS in the European elections and win a swathe of seats, right across the country, in the local elections.

Sinn Fein is up to its highest support level in the Sunday Independent’s series of MillwardBrown polls since the general election.

Likewise, Independent candidates are set to make substantial gains on councils as the voters move away from the establishment parties.

The party has touched 21pc three times last year in February, August and November.

Independents are also up to highest support levels since the general election, although they did hit 19pc this time last year.

The poll interviews were carried out between February 19 and 28 and compares with the previous Sunday Independent MillwardBrown opinion poll conducted between January 15 and 24.

Interviews were conducted face-to-face, in the homes of almost 1,000 adults.

Additional questions in tomorrow’s Sunday Independent include satisfaction with Government and party leaders, attitudes towards the placement of pylons, same sex marriage and the GSOC bugging controversy.

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