Dire poll result sparks calls for FF ministers to 'stop hiding'
A SENIOR Fianna Fail figure last night called on his party's ministers to stop "hiding" -- as the latest poll showed that half of its TDs could lose their seats at the next election.
Fianna Fail parliamentary party chairman John Browne said there were four or five cabinet ministers doing a good job explaining the party's position to the public, but others who were nowhere to be seen.
"The Taoiseach has upped his game but there's a lot of ministers staying in the background. I think there's a lot of ministers hiding at the moment. The Taoiseach can't be expected to carry the can on his own," he said.
The 'Sunday Business Post' Red C' opinion poll showed that Fianna Fail's support level has fallen by six points to 18pc, its lowest rating so far. This is less than half the 41pc share of the vote it got in the 2007 General Election and, if repeated in the next election, would lead to at least half of its TDs losing their seats.
There have been concerns expressed by other Fianna Fail backbenchers about the lack of public appearances by some senior ministers, with backbenchers and junior ministers being forced to defend the Government in the media instead.
Fianna Fail Meath West TD Johnny Brady complained publicly about the absence of some ministers at the party's meeting last week.
Mr Browne said he was not going to name names because the ministers themselves "know who they are". It was time for them to appear more in the media to defend the Government and to turn up in constituencies to help colleagues.
The Wexford TD admitted the results of the poll were not surprising considering the publicity about the cost of rescuing the banks and the possibility of between €4bn and €7bn of cuts in the Budget.
However, he and other backbenchers contacted last night pledged to back the Budget.
The opinion poll showed that both Fine Gael (at 32pc) and Labour (at 27pc) are far more popular with voters than Fianna Fail (18pc).
But just 25pc of voters polled say they have confidence these parties can manage the public finances and 55pc want them to give a clear outline of how they would cut the €20bn deficit in the public finances.
Sinn Fein dropped by one point to9pc, but independents got a point rise to 10pc.
There was also a boost for the Green Party, up one point to 4pc.