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Sunday 18 February 2018

Ministers play down rift amid poll slump

Paul Kehoe
Paul Kehoe

Emma Jane Hade and Fionnan Sheahan

FINE Gael ministers played down the rift in the Coalition as opinion polls show the Government parties struggling.

The Labour Party's support has slumped to a record 6pc, a new 'Sunday Independent'/Millward Brown opinion poll said.

Weeks from local and European elections, Fine Gael is up to 29pc, but a separate poll showed its support well down.

After the public bust-up over water charges, Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe said relations were "good" but there were challenges.

"Things are going good," he said yesterday.

"But I have to say, I have been canvassing for the last number of weeks, and people recognise the great work that the Fine Gael party and the Labour Party have done in Government over the last three years – in bringing the economy from where it was in 2011 to where it is now.

"People are getting back to work and people recognise that. Of course we have challenges, but we will face those challenges like we have faced challenges in the past three years.

"There is no huge rift that people are talking about, and there are challenges, but we will make decisions on these issues and challenges over the next number of weeks."

Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes said opinion polls "go up and down".

He added: "At the end of the day this is a national government made up of two different parties, who came together in 2011 to get the country out of the bailout.

"I wouldn't be too concerned about the polls; the important issue is getting people out to vote, and making sure the strong representation of both parties – and especially our own party of FG – continues in local authorities after May 23."

Irish Independent

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