Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny

Read more: Irish people want a Labour- Sinn Fein Government, says new poll

The first political opinion poll of the 2011 shows that support for Fine Gael has increased as it extended its lead over the Labour Party, while support for Fianna Fail continues to slide.

Results of the latest Red C poll commissioned by Paddy Power bookmakers show that support for Fine Gael stands at 35 percent, up one percent on a similar poll conducted by the same company for the Sunday Business Post last month.

Labour support stands at 21 percent, a slip dip in the 23 percent recorded in the earlier poll.

Support for the governing body Fianna Fail has fallen from 17 to 14 percent.

Sinn Fein was also at 14 percent, unchanged from the previous polls figures.

Read more: Irish people want a Labour- Sinn Fein Government, says new poll