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'No rift' in Coalition says FG after polls show parties slump

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 Brian Hayes. Photo: Tom Burke

Brian Hayes. Photo: Tom Burke

Brian Hayes. Photo: Tom Burke

SENIOR Fine Gael politicians have played down reports of a rift in the Coalition after opinion polls showed that the Government parties are struggling.

The Labour Party's support has slumped to an all-time low of just six per cent, a new Sunday Independent/Millward Brown opinion poll reveals.

Just weeks out from the local and European elections, Fine Gael is up to 29pc, but a separate poll showed the party's support well down.

Junior finance minister Brian Hayes – the Fine Gael's Dublin European Election candidate – said opinion polls "go up and down for all the parties".

He insisted there was unity between the parties, saying: "At the end of the day this is a national Government made up of two different parties – the two biggest parties in the country in terms of Dail representation – who came together in 2011, to get the country out of the bailout, and to get the country back to work.

IMPORTANT

"And, on the big economic question, I think that is where the Government is succeeding.

"Both Government parties have a lot of really important things to talk about to the Irish people in the the next four weeks or so.

"So I wouldn't be too concerned about the polls, the important issue is getting people out to vote, and making sure the strong representation of both parties – and especially our own party of FG – continues in the local authorities after May 23," he added.

In the wake of the public bust-up over water charges, Government chief whip Paul Kehoe said relations between the parties were "good" but there were challenges.

He said there was "no huge rift" in the Coalition.

"People recognise the great work that the Fine Gael party and the Labour Party have done in Government over the last 3 years – in bringing back the economy from where it was in 2011 to where it is now.

"People are getting back to work and people recognise that. We have challenges ahead, but we will face those challenges like we have faced the challenges in the past three years.

"It's about talking about issues and coming up with a resolution and we will do that. There is no huge rift that people are talking about, and there are challenges but we will make decisions on these issues and challenges over the next number of weeks," he said.

LOCAL ELECTION SPECIAL – PAGES 16 AND 17.


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