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Coronavirus measures bring surge in public support for Fine Gael, new opinion poll suggests

The poll comes as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are in talks to form a new government.

Image: Sam Boal

A NEW OPINION poll has put Fine Gael out in front as the party with the most support among members of the public as the Government continues to grapple with the impact of the coronavirus emergency in Ireland. 

Seven weeks ago, the party finished in third place in the General Election behind Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil.

A Business Post/Red C poll published today, however, has put the party back out in front, harnessing 34% of support among the 1,000 participants of the poll – an increase of 13% on the election result. 

Sinn Féin is sitting on 28% of support – up 3% – according to the poll, while Fianna Fáil has experienced a drop in support to 18%. 

The election outcome saw Sinn Féin win 37 seats while Fianna Fáil returned 38 seats, although one of those was already reserved for Ceann Comhairle Sean O’Fhergail.

Fine Gael won 35 seats in the election with some its prominent figures, including Social Protection Minster Regina Doherty, losing their seats. 

Teams from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have been engaging in coalition talks in recent days and are due to meet again next week. 

A coalition between the two parties is seen as the most likely route to forming a government but it would require the support of a third party or significant number of independent TDs to reach the 80 seat majority required. 

Sinn Féin has shelved its efforts to form a government, at least for now, as the Covid-19 emergency rumbles on.

The current health crisis has accelerated the need for a government to be formed as without one there can be no new emergency legislation passed.

Earlier this week, both parties said they “agree the need to form a strong stable government that will help Ireland recover post Covid 19″.

Varadkar, who is operating in a caretaking taoiseach capacity at present, said the Government’s focus is very much on the Covid-19 emergency, but where time can be found then further negotiations can happen. 

The Green Party has ruled itself out of a coalition with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, calling instead for a national unity government involving all members of the Dáil. 

The Business Post/Red C poll has seen support for smaller parties and independents also drop. 

Support for independents is down from 12% to 5%, while support for the Green Party is down 2% to 5%. 

The poll was carried out among 1,000 participants between 20 March and 25 March – three days after St Patrick’s Day when Varadkar made a State of the Nation-style broadcast to the Irish public.

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