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State of the Nation: Not 'Top Cat' anymore ... Enda's got company at the top of the polls

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

Updated at 8.56am

EACH WEEKDAY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you a comprehensive guide to what’s happening in the political world.

Everyone’s talking about… 

This morning’s opinion poll from The Irish Times and Ipsos MRBI. The survey, carried out among 1,200 votes at the start of this week, shows Fine Gael and Sinn Féin with equal support for the first time.

Both parties are on 24 per cent, and the findings reflect a rise for Gerry Adams’ party  (up 4 per cent) rather than a decline for Enda Kenny’s.

In terms of the four main parties, Labour have received a ‘Burton Bounce’ with the junior coalition partners up 2 per cent to 9 since the Social Protection Minister took over from Eamon Gilmore. Fianna Fáil, however, are back at the 20 per cent mark — that’s a drop of 5 per cent since the paper’s last poll back in May.

Source: Niall Carson ... Micheál Martin

Pollsters also asked whether people were more or less likely to vote for Fine Gael as a result of The John McNulty Affair. 37 per cent said ‘less likely’.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton was asked about that very finding on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“I think we clearly would have preferred not to have had such an event and the Taoiseach was very clear about that,” was all he had to say on the issue, before swiftly pivoting to talk about the economy.

The agenda… 

  • The Dáil gets under way at 9.30am, with public expenditure minister Brendan Howlin taking questions for an hour or so. Maybe he’ll decide to reveal his end of the Budget a few days early? … Perhaps not. Leader’s Questions is at midday. 
  • The Committee on Health and Children will continue its hearings on the issue of concussion in sport with experts from the HSE, IRFU, Horse Sport Ireland and elsewhere. That’s also at 9.30.
  • The Public Accounts Committee meets at 10am.
  • And away from Leinster House, candidates in Dublin SW and Roscommon-South Leitrim will be making one last push for votes. The Dublin hopefuls faced off for a debate in Vincent Browne’s studio last night… 

What the others are saying…

  • The fine for smoking in a car with children will be a mere €80 under new legislation due to come into force next year, the Irish Independent reports.
  • Defence Minister Simon Coveney is due to brief the Cabinet tomorrow on the country’s preparedness for a sudden outbreak of Ebola, according to the Irish Examiner. 
  • And a priest in Donegal has weighed into the debate on whether prayers should be said in the Dáil, according to the Herald. Apparently Fr Martin Doohan of Dunfanaghy told his congregation he’d rather “follow Jesus than Clare Daly”. 

In case you missed it…

From the halls of Leinster House… 

There were lots of Fine Gael TDs who wanted to lambast Sinn Féin’s pre-budget submission launched yesterday. The government party released at least four statements from deputies outlining what they believed are flaws in the proposals. But their views can all be summed up in the words of one TD: “So Sinn Féin are doing economics now, are they?”

On the Twitter machine… 

Somehow we missed this one on Tuesday.

[Cat photo: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland]

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