Irish Times poll: Fine Gael will not be too despondent, says Coveney

Minister points to ‘very positive’ jump in satisfaction with Government

Fine Gael will not be too despondent about its latest polls drop, Simon Coveney has said. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Fine Gael will not be too despondent about its latest polls drop, Simon Coveney has said. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Fine Gael will not be “too despondent” about its latest drop in the polls, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said.

In today’s Irish Times Ipsos MRBI poll, Sinn Féin is up three points to 31 per cent since the last poll in February, while Fine Gael has declined by three to 27 per cent.

The biggest gainer is Fianna Fáil, which has seen a significant rise of six points to 20 per cent, in tandem with a rise of seven points in Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s satisfaction rating. The Green Party, the smallest of the Coalition parties, has held steady at 6 per cent.

“Fine Gael has been in the high 20s or early 30s for the last 12 months, and we don’t get carried away when we are in the 30s and we don’t get too despondent when we are in the high 20s,” Mr Coveney said.

“The general election is a long way away.”

Mr Coveney added: “Yes, there is a bounce for Sinn Fein, good luck to them. They are the main Opposition party and they get a lot of coverage in that role. Our job is to make sure the Government does its jobs well.”

It was “encouraging” and “very positive” that there was a jump in satisfaction with the Government. “We take some encouragement from that,” he told RTÉ radio.

Meanwhile Sinn Féin senator Lynn Boylan, who is the party’s byelection candidate in Dublin Bay South, said she is not assuming the high polling figures will guarantee her that seat.

“We don’t the underestimate the constituency that Dublin Bay South is which is seen as a very strong constituency for Fine Gael, but that is not to say that Sinn Féin taking a second seat in that constituency is impossible, it absolutely isn’t,” she told the Tonight Show on Virgin Media.

“What we are saying to people is this is a byelection, byelections are very different to general elections; this is an opportunity for you if you are not happy with the status quo and Government – who is the best candidate to send the strongest possible message that you want them to change course.”

In Fianna Fáil, senator Mary Fitzpatrick said the strong support for Government parties suggests the Coalition are “clear leaders with the majority of voters”.