The Irish government is suffering at the polls after recent scandals involving Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and the Rehab charity according to a new survey and Sinn Fein are the big gainers.
And Shatter’s involvement in a series of controversies threatens both parties at the upcoming European and local elections.
The latest Red C opinion poll says support for the Fine Gael and Labor Party coalition has dropped to its lowest levels in three years.
Enda Kenny’s government has been embroiled in a series of controversies involving Minister Shatter, the resignation of police commissioner Martin Callinan and salary levels at the Rehab charity which embroiled their director of elections Frank Flannery.
The Sunday Independent reports that the new opinion poll shows Fine Gael and the Labor Party recording their worst result since coming to office in March 2011.
And Sinn Fein are the big winners of the poll, carried out by the Red C organisation for the Sunday Business Post.
Support for Fine Gael is down three points to 26 per cent with their government partners Labor down two points to nine per cent.
Sinn Fein is up five points to 21 per cent while Fianna Fail and Independents are both unchanged at 22 per cent.
The damning poll results will be a worry for the Coalition parties ahead of the European and local elections in the summer.
And the paper predicts that the recent controversies will hit both Coalition parties at the polling booths with Justice Minister Shatter facing a motion of no confidence in the Dail in the coming days.
Election workers have reported that Shatter’s involvement in recent headlines is now a major issue on doorsteps.
One Fine Gael source told the Sunday Independent: “The voters wouldn’t be happy. This is an issue that’s dragging on for a period of time and is now building up. The council candidates would be getting a lot of flak.
“Even Fine Gael people are looking to give us a kick. They think we know more than we are telling them.”
A Labor Party source confirmed their canvassers are also feeling the backlash.
A senior Labor Party source said: “Shatter’s name has come up and members have said so. They are latching on to what the news agenda is.
“It’s impossible to understand. Shatter’s name is coming up and not in a good way. It’s not helpful to the election campaign. This week, people are far more tuned into it.”