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Monday 24 July 2017

FF makes more gains as government parties slump

Fionnan Sheahan and Barry Duggan

FINE Gael has joined the Labour Party in hitting a significant slump in support since the general election, a new poll shows.

Backing for Taoiseach Enda Kenny's party has dropped to 29pc – a three-point fall since last summer – and down seven points since Election 2011.

Labour's slide appears to have halted with Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's party recording a steady backing of 13pc – the same as last May – but down 6pc since election day.

Fianna Fail's rise is confirmed on 21pc – up from 18pc last May. Sinn Fein is down from 20pc to 16pc – but still up from the 10pc recorded in the general election.

The bulk of the party leaders showed a decline in popularity since a similar poll last year, with only Fianna Fail's Micheal Martin managing to increase satisfaction among voters.

Dissatisfaction with Taoiseach Enda Kenny has increased, although he remains the strongest performer in terms of top-level satisfaction.

A random sample of 1,002 adults over the age of 18 based throughout the country was interviewed over the telephone between Monday and Wednesday, in the Red C poll for Paddy Power bookmakers.

After a slow start, Fianna Fail is continuing to show steady signs of a resurgence of sorts. The falls for Fine Gael and the Labour Party make their positions look all the healthier.

Sinn Fein support has been volatile since the general election, doubling in support initially but tailing off in recent months. Still, the party is well up on the general election result.

The poll also found substantial opposition to the restrictions on flying the Union flag from Belfast City Hall, which has led to more than a month of demonstrations and violent protests.

Almost half (47pc) of those asked disagreed with Belfast City Council's decision to only raise the flag on designated days.

Around a third (35pc) of Irish voters backed the council's restrictions, while 18pc did not express any view.


And the poll actually shows that just less than half (48pc) of Sinn Fein supporters believed it was the right decision.

Meanwhile, Willie O'Dea will run again for the Dail at the next general election.

The former defence minister has admitted he will contest his 11th election for the 32nd Dail, if Fianna Fail allows.

Mr O'Dea (60) – whose only unsuccessful campaign came at his first general election bid in 1981 – is also planning on publishing his memoirs when he finally leaves public life.

"Last time it was the hardest election ever. I am very confident the next election will be easier," Mr O'Dea predicted.

He said he expects the current government to last the full term because of their large majority in the Dail.

Mr O'Dea said he will be seeking a seat in the Limerick city constituency at the next election.

"You are talking (with the next election) two to three years so that is my intention, I will be there if the organisation (Fianna Fail) wants me to go," he said.

Mr O'Dea has recorded diaries since he first entered the Dail and promises there will be "plenty of red faces" amongst former and serving politicians when they are published.

Irish Independent

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