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Fine Gael support drops but it's still the most popular party, according to poll

The party has been dealing with the aftermath of controversial comments made by by-election candidate Verona Murphy.

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar
Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

FINE GAEL HAS seen its support drop by two points to 30% but it is still the most popular political party in the country, according to a new opinion poll.

Fianna Fáil is the second most popular party, with an unchanged 24% support, in the latest Business Post/Red C poll.

The results are as follows:

  • Fine Gael: 30% (down two)
  • Fianna Fáil: 24% (no change)
  • Independents: 12% (up one)
  • Sinn Féin: 11% (no change)
  • Green Party: 7% (no change)
  • Labour Party: 6% (up two)
  • Independent Alliance: 4% (no change)
  • Social Democrats: 2% (no change)
  • Solidarity-PBP: 2% (up one)
  • Aontú: 1% (no change)
  • Other parties: 1% (no change)

In the last week, Fine Gael’s Wexford by-election candidate Verona Murphy has been at the centre of a controversy over comments she made linking asylum seekers to the so-called Islamic State terrorist group.

Last weekend Murphy told RTÉ’s This Week Programme asylum seekers coming to Ireland have to be “deprogrammed” as they may have been “infiltrated by ISIS”.

In a statement following the broadcast, Murphy described her comments as a “poor choice of words”. However, The Irish Times reported on Monday that Murphy made further comments linking migrants to the terrorist group while canvassing in Wexford.

Murphy apologised again and met asylum seekers at a Direct Provision centre in Waterford, a move which was criticised by some as a publicity stunt but defended by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.

“I realise now I had a poor understanding of asylum issues and I apologise wholeheartedly for my remarks,” Murphy said after the visit.

Flanagan and junior finance minister Michael D’Arcy joined Murphy for a canvass in Wexford town yesterday ahead of Friday’s by-election. 

The Red C opinion poll was taken between Thursday, 14 November and Thursday, 21 November; 1,000 adults were surveyed over the phone. The margin of error is plus or minus 3%. 

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Órla Ryan

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