Ireland’s politicians are this week on the final leg of a raid fire General Election campaign with opinion polls suggesting the current Fine Gael Labour coalition will not be returned to power
An Ipsos MRBI poll for the Irish Times at the start of this week suggested the chances of a hung Dail are increasing.
Meanwhile outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny apologized for calling voters in his Castlebar, Co. Mayo constituency “whingers”.
No-one party now seems likely to win an overall majority in the 158-seat parliament. The survey found a drop in declared support for Labour and Sinn Féin, with Fianna Fáil and Independents improving their position.
The poll showed no change in Fine Gael support since the election campaign began and a drop in Labour Party support to just 6 per cent.
Fianna Fáil moved up two percentage points to 23 per cent, Sinn Féin went down four points to 15 per cent with significant gains for independents and smaller parties, who were up three points to 28 per cent.
On Monday Mr Kenny offered his “full apologies to the people of Castlebar” after calling them ‘All Ireland whingers’ at weekend function. Mr. Kenny has been a TD for the area since 1975.
He made his apology on RTÉ’s Six One News and said he had not meant the people of Castlebar at all but a “small number of Fianna Fáil councillors”. “My full apologies to the people of Castlebar. There was no offence meant to any member of the public.
“I was having a political go at a small number of Fianna Fáil councillors who scare-mongered bits and pieces about the hospital and units for elderly people and so on like that.”
Mr. Kenny had said at a Fine Gael constituency event on Saturday night: “I say to those people… and God knows we have some All-Ireland champions here in Castlebar. I don’t mean Castlebar Mitchels, I mean the whingers I hear every week saying ‘there’s nothing happening’. Well I want to assure them that the future is very bright. All we have to do is maintain progress in terms of our economy.”