GERRY Adams's position as Sinn Fein leader is becoming increasingly vulnerable after a new opinion poll showed a dramatic collapse in his own popularity.
But the party has rejected suggestions that Mr Adams's performance in the wake of the publication of the Smithwick Tribunal report is to blame for the party's drop in public support.
The poll represents a pre-Christmas boost to the coalition government, which saw its satisfaction rating grow by a massive 11pc.
However, it suggests that Mr Adams's comments about the deaths of two RUC officers have sparked a backlash from voters.
As the leaders of all the main political parties saw their popularity increase, satisfaction with Mr Adams fell by a massive 8pc.
Sinn Fein also saw its support fall -- which is stark contrast to the fortunes of the FG-Labour Coalition and Fianna Fail.
Significantly, the Behavioural & Attitudes poll for the 'Sunday Times' was conducted around the same time Mr Adams was heavily criticised for making shocking remarks about two RUC officers murdered in 1989.
According to the latest poll, Fine Gael is the most popularity party in the State, with a 30pc satisfaction rating -- 5pc higher than the previous poll of its kind.
Enda Kenny's party is followed by FF and the Independents, who are both on 21pc.
Labour is on 11pc -- it is still four points below SF on 15pc.