After two months of controversy over its handling of sex offenders and Maria Cahill’s abuse allegations, Sinn Fein’s popularity has plummeted, according to a Sunday Independent/Millward Brown opinion poll.
Gerry Adam’s party has dropped a significant five points to 21pc since the last poll showed Sinn Fein was the country’s most popular political party.
Mr Adam’s leadership rating dropped four points to 23pc and almost two thirds of people say they do not believe his claim that he does not know the names of sex offenders moved by the IRA.
Meanwhile, support for Independents continues to surge with almost a third (32pc) of a people now saying they will vote for an alternative to the established political parties at the next General Election.
Independents, which includes People Before Profit and other smaller political parties, have jumped an astonishing nine points since the last poll and could potentially hold 50 seats in the next Dail.
Fine Gael’s support is unchanged at 22pc, while Fianna Fail dropped two points to 18pc.
The poll will be especially worrying for Tanaiste Joan Burton as her party’s support has plunged even further and is currently at just 5pc
Ms Burton’s approval rating has fallen six points to 22pc – the lowest since she became the Labour Party leader.
Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s leadership rating dropped four points to 21pc and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has seen his approval rating drop five points to 24pc.
More than half (54pc) of those polled believe Mairia Cahill’s claim that Sinn Fein and the IRA tried to cover up her child sex abuse allegations has damaged Mr Adam’s reputation.
While 46pc of people say Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald’s reputation has also been damaged by Ms Cahil’s allegations.
The poll shows less than two in five people intend on paying the Government’s new revised water charges.
And after months of controversy, satisfaction with the Government has dropped to its lowest point this year with just one in five people saying they are happy with how the Coalition are running the country.
Almost a third (30pc) of people believe the Government will not run its full term and more than half (55pc) do not think the Coalition will be given a second term in office.
For more information and in-depth poll analysis, read the full story in tomorrow's Sunday Independent.