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SF rather than Ming & Co making the greater impression

NEWLY elected Independents added a dash of colour to the 31st Dail But builder Mick Wallace's infamous pink shirt and Luke 'Ming the Merciless' Flanagan's refusal to wear a tie may not be having the desired effect..

The latest Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne poll shows the march of the Independents has ground to a halt, with support for some TDs dropping by four points to 13pc.

Despite strong performances from some -- most notably Shane Ross, Joe Higgins and Finian McGrath -- many of the newcomers have failed to set the Dail alight.

Many were elected on the back of an unprecedented voter backlash to Fianna Fail, but on this evidence it appears significant numbers are more impressed with Fine Gael's performance in power rather than the Independents' showing on the opposition benches.

This contrasts with Sinn Fein's fortunes, whose support has remained steady since its impressive general election result.

The party's popularity has increased by one point to 11pc on the back of some strong performances in the Dail, particularly from young guns Peadar O Broin, Padraig MacLochlainn, and the combative Pearse Doherty.

Party president Gerry Adams' personal popularity has jumped significantly.

His satisfaction rating is up eight points to 37pc compared to the last poll prior to the election -- the highest level since February 2010.

Support for Sinn Fein jumped by eight points in Connacht/ Ulster to 18pc.

It has increased by two points in Munster to 18pc, remains steady in Dublin (10pc), but is down six in the rest of Leinster (21pc).

Irish Independent