Politics

Thursday 31 July 2014

Fianna Fail level with FG after Shatter controversy

Fionnan Sheahan and John Downing

Published 04/04/2014|02:30

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Michael Martin, TD, leader of Fianna Fail
Michael Martin, TD, leader of Fianna Fail

Fianna Fail has pulled level with Fine Gael after the major coalition party's support suffered another drop in the wake of the controversy surrounding Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

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Just seven weeks out from the local and European elections, a new opinion poll shows Fine Gael support level has plummeted by five points to 25pc.

The poll confirms the public disquiet and pressure on the Government over the garda taping scandal and the resignation of the Garda Commissioner.

But it also offers a lifeline to Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, whose performance recently has led to mutterings of discontent within his party. Fianna Fail has climbed three points and now sits level with Fine Gael at 25pc.

Independents are also up three points at 21pc in the poll by Ipsos MRBI for 'The Irish Times'.

The Labour Party is also down by one point to 8pc and Sinn Fein is unchanged at 21pc.

Fine Gael has lost the bounce it received in the wake of the exit from the bailout, with the party now down to the support levels it was on a year ago.

The hit for the Coalition parties comes at a bad time with the local and European elections on the horizon.

A failure to recover in time will see Fine Gael and Labour lose seats at council and European Parliament levels.

Fine Gael is already wary about its prospects of returning with its present coterie of four MEPs, while Labour is in danger of losing all three of its seats in Europe.

The coalition parties' nervousness about suffering a backlash in the mid-term elections will be further exacerbated by the poll findings.

Satisfaction with the Government is down four points to 22pc, while dissatisfaction is up five points to 71pc.

Mr Kenny's satisfaction levels have also dropped on the back of the handling of the garda affairs. The Taoiseach is down three points to 30pc.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's satisfaction rating is up one point to 20pc.

Along with his party's rise in support, Mr Martin's rating is also up two points to 31pc.

Although Sinn Fein's support is stagnant, party president Gerry Adams sees his satisfaction rating rise by six points to 33pc.

The poll was taken on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week when the motion of no confidence in Mr Shatter was debated in the Dail.

CONSTITUENCIES

The survey was undertaken among a representative sample of 1,000 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all constituencies.

The margin of error is plus or minus 3pc.

The results will be viewed as a direct reaction to the Government's failure to handle the garda controversies, which spiraled out of control with the resignation of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and revelations about the taping of phone calls in garda stations.

Irish Independent

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