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Non-party TDs could have big say

ONE of the biggest stories to emerge from this general election campaign has been the dramatic rise in support for Independent candidates.

Support for the Independents has increased by two points to 16pc with just two days to go before the election, the latest Irish Independent/ Millward Brown Lansdowne poll reveals.

More than a third of all candidates standing in the election are Independents -- with many voters preparing to turn their back on the established parties.

According to today's poll, up to one in seven people who previously voted for Fianna Fail will switch their allegiance to an Independent candidate this time around.

If this level of support is reflected in Friday's ballot, Independents could account for as many as 20 seats in the election.

Even in the likely event of a Fine Gael/Labour coalition, the army of new Independents is set to radically transform the 31st Dail. There is a wide variety of Independents running in the election, from rural TDs campaigning on local issues to established national figures such as Senator Shane Ross, who is tipped to take a seat in Dublin South.

Irish Independent