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Despite the Mairia Cahill controversy, Sinn Féin are the most popular party in Ireland

It didn’t stop some Sinn Féin officials from dismissing the poll results, though…

Updated 8pm

SUPPORT FOR SINN Féin has actually increased in the last month, despite severe and widespread criticism of their handling of allegations by Belfast woman Mairia Cahill.

A new Millward Brown poll in today’s Sunday Independent shows Sinn Féin are the most popular political party in the state, with Fine Gael in second, Fianna Fáil third, and Labour a distant fourth.

Asked who they’d vote for in a general election tomorrow, 26% chose Sinn Féin, 23% Independents and others, 22% Fine Gael, 20% Fianna Fáil, and 7% said they would vote Labour.

Significantly, the poll was conducted between 21 and 31 October, during which time Cahill accused Sinn Féin and Gerry Adams of covering up her alleged sexual abuse by an IRA member in the late 1990s, and a subsequent “kangaroo court” by four named republicans.

Dail Scenes Source: sam boal/Photocall Ireland

Adams has repeatedly and strenuously rejected those claims, but today’s poll would seem to indicate the controversy has taken a toll on his personal popularity.

Dissatisfaction with his leadership is now at 56%, which is a significant, eight-point increase from last month.

Since the same poll was conducted in September, Sinn Féin support has actually gone up by four percentage points, while the popularity of the other three main parties has dropped.

Support for Independents and others has remained steady for the last three months.

In advance of today’s poll, some Sinn Féin officials appear to have jumped the gun somewhat, dismissing the findings before their publication.

The party’s director of publicity, Seán Mac Brádaigh, yesterday likened them to Soviet propaganda, while Fingal County Councillor Paul Donnelly said the poll was “about as credible as Fox/Pravda news.”

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Dan MacGuill

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