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Sinn Fein support surges in Republic, says poll

Mary Lou McDonald

Support for Sinn Fein in the Republic of Ireland has surged ahead of next month's General Election, according to a new poll.

The first Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll of the election campaign showed support for the republican party at 21%, up seven.

It leaves Sinn Fein narrowly behind Fine Gael on 23% and Fianna Fail on 25%.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald's personal approval rating rose from 30% to 34%, while Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's reduced from 51% in October to 35%.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin's rating also fell, from 38% to 33%, and Labour's Brendan Howlin went from 20% to 17%.

Fianna Fail has taken a small lead over Fine Gael for the first time in three years, the opinion poll shows.

Support for the Government has dropped significantly in recent months.

The Green Party is also set to make gains in next month's election, the poll suggests, while independents and smaller parties are on track to lose several Dail seats.

Belfast Telegraph