Jennifer O’Connell: Public right to be cynical about Irish politics

Parties’ practice of using fake pollsters goes against principle of secret ballot

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar admitted Fine Gael engaged in ‘similar’ practices to Sinn Féin on door-to-door polling. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar admitted Fine Gael engaged in ‘similar’ practices to Sinn Féin on door-to-door polling. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

You know the pressure is on when the passive voice starts being deployed by politicians as a weapon of mass minimisation. “That is not right and it is not proper and shouldn’t have happened,” said Taoiseach Micheál Martin about the phenomenon of his party using fake pollsters to root out citizens’ voting intentions.

The explanations trotted out by all four parties in question for their involvement in the nasty practice of deceiving voters on their own doorstep through polling relied heavily on the Five Standard Excuses of all politicians everywhere for absolutely everything, as popularised by the TV show Yes Minister in the 1980s.

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