Tuesday 17 July 2018

Wind taken out of Fine Gael's sails

The fact the Banking Inquiry, set up very much under FG's terms, has failed to land any hard punches has done the party no favours, according to the ­latest opinion poll

‘Overall satisfaction with the Government’s performance has taken a hit’
‘Overall satisfaction with the Government’s performance has taken a hit’

Paul Moran

Even though the Dail is now in recess, and many of our parliamentarians are on their summer break, there has still been plenty of activity to focus the minds of both the Government and the Opposition politicians recently. This latest Millward Brown opinion poll, conducted over an 11-day period up until Thursday, coincided with the on-going Banking Inquiry and the Eurostat judgment on Irish Water.

Our more recent tracking polls had suggested that Fine Gael was beginning to pull away from the chasing pack, opening up a gap from its rivals. However, this July poll suggests that that momentum has come to a shuddering halt. The senior Government party has shed five points in this latest snapshot, and now stands at 24pc; its lowest rating seen this year. It would seem that the Eurostat judgment in particular has taken the wind out of FG's sails. Following on from a disastrous 2014, where there was a cacophony of errors (take your pick from Shatter, Callinan, Irish Water or McNulty), FG had seemed to have steadied its ship.

They will hope that these latest findings are a blip, and that the summer recess will dilute the embarrassment of that judgment. Yet the continuing protestations, from Fine Gael ministers in particular, that this ruling is not a setback seems to be compounding public ire.

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