Wednesday 1 March 2017

Public trust Lenihan to lead us out of recession

One in five believes it is time to bring in the IMF

Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

Brian Lenihan is the political leader people consider most likely to lead Ireland out of recession, a Sunday Independent/Quantum Research telephone poll has found.

But in a damning indictment of the current political establishment, 21 per cent believe calling in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is the best option to get the country out of recession.

Many of those who thought the IMF should step in expressed deep disillusionment with political leaders from all parties. Some said they believed Ireland was now a failed State and that we have no choice but to call in the IMF to bail the country out.

The poll of 500 respondents from all over the country found that a majority of 27 per cent are convinced Finance Minister Mr Lenihan has what it takes to deal with the economic crisis.

Many of those who support Mr Lenihan referred to his two years' experience dealing with the fallout of the crash and felt this gave him an advantage over others.

Mr Lenihan's nearest challenger was Labour leader Eamon Gilmore who received 22 per cent support in the poll.

In contrast, a shockingly low five per cent of respondents believe that Taoiseach Brian Cowen can meet the challenges ahead, while Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny fared even worse at a paltry four per cent.

The finding that the current leaders of the two biggest political parties have such little support among the Irish people will provide ammunition to the growing number of opponents to both men from within their own ranks.

Richard Bruton, the former finance spokesman of Fine Gael who lost that position after his failed bid to oust Mr Kenny, is trusted by 14 per cent as a person capable of leading Ireland out of its current difficulties.

There is also a growing realisation among the Irish electorate that the Croke Park Agreement between the Government and the public sector unions is no longer tenable.

A majority of 60 per cent believe the Croke Park deal should be shredded, while 40 per cent disagree.

Many respondents who believe the deal should be cancelled pointed out that the economic climate had seriously deteriorated in the interim.

On the political front the poll contained more ominous findings in relation to Mr Cowen just two weeks after the drinking controversy.

A substantial majority of 68 per cent believe he should stand down as Taoiseach before the next election. In all just one in three (32 per cent) believe Mr Cowen should continue. "Brian Cowen should be forced to resign; he gives us no hope," was the comment of one respondent.

In another question voters were asked who they thought was the best alternative leader of Fianna Fail.

Again Mr Lenihan polled well and is favoured by a substantial majority of 46 per cent -- far in excess of other potential candidates.

The Quantum Research poll also found the Fine Gael leader's support continues to dwindle. A large majority of 71 per cent believe Mr Kenny should stand down as party leader while 29 per cent believe he should continue to lead.

In the event of Mr Kenny falling on his sword a large majority of 61 per cent favour Richard Bruton.

In a another question respondents were given three options about what should happen now -- if they preferred a quick election, a national government or a renewal of the Tallaght Strategy.

In all a majority of 45 per cent favour a quick election, 35 per cent want a national government while 20 per cent preferred a Tallaght Strategy -- tacit support from the main opposition parties for the economic strategy of the current Government.

In another question respondents were asked which non-politician they would trust most "to do the right thing in some form of national government". The Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary emerged a clear winner with 30 per cent of voters.

"O'Leary would be perfect, can you imagine him allowing the waste that goes on in our public services?" was the view of one male respondent.

Meanwhile, the country is divided down the middle on the issue of financial support for the banks. Asked: "Do you believe we have no choice but to pay back all monies owed by the banks?", 50 per cent said 'Yes' and 50 per cent 'No'.

Sunday Independent

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