Sinn Fein is now the most popular party in Ireland and clear favorite to head a new coalition government if a snap election is called.
Fresh from their runaway success in the European and local elections, Sinn Fein is now Ireland’s most supported party after winning 26 per cent voter approval in the latest poll.
As Labor members wait to vote on a new leader after their collapse in the local and Euro elections, there is a real fear that their coalition with Fine Gael could now collapse.
The new opinion poll suggests that a snap election would see Sinn Fein hold the balance of power.
The poll, taken on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, suggests that electors have hardened their stance in the wake of the recent elections.
The Sunday Independent says that Sinn Fein could lead a hard Left Government for the first time in the history of the State.
Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, both on 20 per cent, would be unable to secure a majority in a snap General Election.
A Fianna Fail-Sinn Fein coalition, at 15 per cent, was favored by those polled, followed by Fianna Fail-Independents at 11 per cent, the current Fine Gael-Labor at nine per cent, Fine Gael-Independents also on nine per cent, Fine Gael-Sinn Fein on seven per cent and Fine Gael-Fianna Fail on five per cent.
Sinn Fein could also form a coalition with Independents.
Minister Joan Burton is favorite to win the Labor Party leadership but those polled have told her she will only win on a strict mandate to end austerity or pull out of Government according to the report.
Over half of voters do not expect austerity to end and more believe the Government will collapse than believe it will last full term.
Cabinet minister Charlie Flanagan has admitted to the paper that a real danger exists that ‘the Coalition could stumble into an early election’.Flanagan told the Sunday Independent: “We are still dealing with the local elections fall-out, the Cabinet reshuffle and the Labour leadership.
“There is quite a degree of turbulence in Government. It is critical that we are not blown off course by that turbulence.”