SINN Fein finds itself in a bitter dogfight with Fianna Fail as just two points separate the parties with a week to go before the country goes to the polls, a new Irish Independent/Millward Brown poll reveals.
And Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said party president Gerry Adams should admit to being a member of the IRA.
Upping the ante as Fianna Fail looks over its shoulder, he said Mr Adams has a "fundamental problem" by denying he was a member of the IRA.
But continuing verbal attacks by Mr Martin on the Louth candidate are seen as a sign of Fianna Fail weakness.
The latest poll shows support for Sinn Fein has dropped by three points to 10pc over the past fortnight. Experts have attributed the relative drop in support to recent poor performances by Mr Adams, whose satisfaction rating has fallen by five points to 26pc.
Mr Martin asked yesterday how Mr Adams could speak about welfare fraud in southern politics during the leaders' debate.
"I mean, Martin McGuinness doesn't have a problem with admitting his membership in the past, but I think there's a huge problem for Gerry Adams in the credibility sense.
"He can't really talk about truth, honesty and transparency if, on a whole range of issues to do with the North and the past, he's not prepared to admit some very basic things and basic truths,'' the new Fianna Fail leader said.
But Mr Adams accused the Fianna Fail leadership of wanting to "go down in the gutter and get dirty" and engaging in a "smear campaign" against him.