Another blow for Enda Kenny as Fine Gael trail behind Fianna Fáil
FG drops in latest poll just hours after an embarrassing u-turn on comments about Sinn Féin
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has suffered another blow today as the latest opinion poll shows Fine Gael trailing behind Fianna Fáil.
The poll result follows two days of turmoil for Mr Kenny after he refused to rule out going into government with Sinn Fein, and was then forced to roll back on his remarks.
The Sunday Business Post/Red C opinion poll shows Fianna Fáil up three points to 27pc and Fine Gael down one 24pc.
Sinn Féin is down two at 14pc, Labour is unchanged at 5pc and the Independent Alliance is down one to 3pc.
Anti-Austerity Alliance People Before Profit is down one point to 4pc, the Social Democrats are unchanged at 4pc and the Green Party is up one to 4pc. Renua is also up one and on 1pc
Non-aligned Independents are down two at 14pc.
The poll consists of a survey of 1,000 people questioned between Monday and Friday.
The result comes just hours after Mr Kenny was forced into an embarrassing u-turn on comments he made about a possible Sinn Fein Fine Gael coalition.
During a media briefing on Thursday, Mr Kenny refused to rule out the possibility of Fine Gael entering into government with Sinn Fein despite being asked on several occasions.
“I said I wouldn't do business with Fianna Fáil so, depending on the result you gave as a member of electorate, politicians have to work with the result," the Taoiseach said.
Fine Gael Cabinet ministers moved quickly to distance themselves from their leader’s comments and insisted they would never enter coalition with Sinn Fein.
Fine Gael leadership frontrunners Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar and Housing Minister Simon Coveney both ruled out going into Government with Gerry Adams party.
The Taoiseach has now been forced into an embarrassing u-turn.
In a statement today, Mr Kenny said: “The Fine Gael Party position is, has been and will remain, not to enter into coalition government with Sinn Fèin.”
“As I have stated many times previously I don't believe the parties to be in anyway compatible, in particular on economic issues where Sinn Fein policy would lead to massive job losses and seriously undermine business and investment.
“My focus and that of the government I lead is to manage the nation's affairs in the interests of its citizens.
“We have immediate challenges that must be dealt with, including Brexit and we will meet those challenges head on as we have done successfully many times before," he added.