What the latest Irish Times poll tells us about the public mood

Inside Politics: Irish Times/Ipsos opinion poll shows nine-point increase in satisfaction with Government since July

Poll Oct 22

There are a number of clichés that political parties or Governments roll out in response to opinion polls.

“I don’t pay attention to polls, I’m focused on the job at hand,” they say with a straight face despite everyone knowing they’re talking rubbish and that politicians obsess over the results. “Polls are just a snapshot, the only one that matters is on election day.”

This is technically true but they can tell us a lot about trends between elections and generate momentum for parties that are doing well.

The Government parties will be quietly pleased at the results of today’s Irish Times/Ipsos opinion poll as all three have seen a rebound in their support since the summer.


As our political editor Pat Leahy reports, Fine Gael has seen a four-point increase to 22 per cent while Fianna Fáil and the Green Party have both had a one-point increase to 21 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

With main Opposition party Sinn Féin still way ahead on 35 per cent (down one point), Government politicians won’t be absolutely jumping for joy.

But another positive for the Coalition is that satisfaction with the Government has increased by nine points to 40 per cent since July.

And Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald are tied as the most popular leaders in the country with their approval rating both standing at 45 per cent. Mr Martin’s rating is up four points.

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar is not far behind with his personal rating up eight points to 44 per cent.

Leahy reports that the results show the public mood towards the Coalition has softened since the summer, despite the continuing cost-of-living crisis. He suggests that the multibillion-euro September budget with its tax cuts, spending increases and measures to help people with the cost of living has begun to take effect.

A general election is not due until early 2025. There is a lot that could go wrong (or right) for the Government parties or Sinn Féin in that time and more polls to come.

See our full coverage, including analyses, here.

Refugee crisis dominating political agenda

The scramble to find accommodation for the ever-increasing number of refugees arriving in Ireland is dominating the political agenda this week and things are expected to get worse.

Jennifer Bray, Simon Carswell and Jack Horgan-Jones report on the growing alarm across Government about the coming weekend with more refugees due to arrive when beds have not yet been sourced and a situation that looks “very bleak”.

A meeting of senior officials agreed on Wednesday another major push would be made to find accommodation, with a fresh call to all Government departments for buildings.

There are proposals to use army barracks to house up to 500 people and more refurbished buildings are due to come on stream in the coming weeks.

An incorporeal Cabinet meeting could be held as early as Thursday to agree measures such as a doubling of the monthly payment for those housing Ukrainian refugees to €800 as well as an extension of the programme of modular house building.

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin and the new British prime minister Rishi Sunak have had their first phone call, agreeing that engagement is vital if the impasse over the Northern Ireland protocol is to be resolved. Harry McGee reports here.

Elsewhere, our parliamentary correspondent Marie O’Halloran outlines how the Taoiseach has warned that there can be no return to direct rule from London if the Northern Ireland Executive is not restored. He told the Dáil the Irish Government will “fully pursue its consultative role under the Good Friday [Belfast] Agreement” if the DUP continues its block on restoration of the Northern Ireland institutions. Full report here.

Miriam Lord casts her eye over the political reaction to plans to extend pub and nightclub opening hours, as the Taoiseach says the change “won’t impact on me” but rural Independent Mattie McGrath reckons the new laws will destroy the country.


Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is first up in the Dáil at 9am to take questions related to his Enterprise, Trade and Employment brief. Minister for Rural Development Heather Humphreys is up next at 10.30am. Leaders’ Questions is at noon.

Government Business in the afternoon includes a debate on the Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme and statements on energy security.

The Public Accounts Committee will hear from Department of Children and Integration secretary general Kevin McCarthy at 9am. The refugee situation is expected to come up as it is the Department responding to the crisis.

Senator George Mitchell will be quizzed by members of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement as one of the architects of the peace deal in the North. This is happening at 1.30pm.

The full Dáil schedule can be found here, Seanad schedule here and Committee schedule here.