Ireland Thinks poll: Sinn Féin rise, Fianna Fáil slump and Holly Cairns the most popular leader

Mary Lou McDonald’s party now at 31pcMixed news for coalition parties amid eviction ban falloutNew Social Democrats Leader Cairns overtakes Micheál Martin

Party leaders Mary Lou McDonald (SF), Micheál Martin (FF), Leo Varadkar (FG) and Holly Cairns (SD)

Hugh O'Connell

SINN Féin has consolidated its status as the most popular party in the country, increasing its support for the first time in six months amid the fallout from the ending of the eviction ban.

The latest Ireland Thinks poll for the Sunday Independent shows a two point increase in support for Mary Lou McDonald’s party, which is now on 31pc. It is the first increase in support for Sinn Féin since it began sliding back in the polls last year, having reached a series high of 37pc last October.

There is mixed news for the Coalition parties with a three point drop for Fianna Fáil, which is down to 16pc, perhaps reflecting that the party holds the Housing brief through Minister Darragh O’Brien.

But Fine Gael will boosted by a one point jump to bring it up to 22pc, while the Green Party, which has experienced internal turmoil over the ending of the eviction ban, remains unchanged on 4pc.

The poll also finds Holly Cairns is now the most popular party leader in the country but the Social Democrats has not sustained its poll gains from last month, sliding back two points to 7pc.

Elsewhere among the opposition parties there has been no boost for Labour, which remains unchanged on 3pc, despite its recent high profile party conference, where it committed to deliver one million homes in 10 years, and its tabling of a no confidence motion in the Government.

There is a one point bounce for Solidarity-People Before Profit, which is now on 3pc, the same as Aontú, while Independents are unchanged on 10pc.

Ms Cairns has an approval rating of 45pc, a two point increase that takes her above Tánaiste Micheál Martin with the Fianna Fáil leader now on 43pc, the same as Ms McDonald who has also benefited from a two point increase.

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar has dropped two points to 38pc, while Labour’s Ivana Bacik is unchanged on 32pc.

Aontú’s Peadar Tóibín is down one to 28pc while Eamon Ryan is unchanged on 22pc making the Green Party leader the least popular of the seven political party chiefs.

The poll was taken on Friday and Saturday of this week as the eviction ban was coming to an end amongst a sample size of 1,102 people.

It has a margin of error of +/- 3pc.

For more poll results and expert analysis on the findings see on Sunday or pick up a copy of the Sunday Independent.