Mary Lou McDonald now bookies' favourite to become next Taoiseach

Mary Lou McDonald now bookies' favourite to become next Taoiseach

MARY Lou McDonald is currently favourite with the bookies to become Ireland's next Taoiseach.

Latest polling figures show that the Sinn Féin leader's chances of landing the job are higher than they've ever been, at 11/8 according to BoyleSports.

Polling suggests that she will face stiff competition from Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar in the next general election.

McDonald's popularity has been growing within her party, while public opinion of her has stayed reasonably high, despite recent controversies surrounding TD Brian Stanley and accusations of bullying.

Her reputation has been hit considerably softer than Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin's and  Varadkar's in recent months.

Martin's leadership qualities have been frequently questioned throughout the pandemic while Varadkar was recently in hot water over accusations that he has leaked Government documents.

Of course, according to the coalition agreement, in around 18 month's time, Mr Varadkar will become Ireland's next Taoiseach, once he swaps roles with Mr Martin, but the Government itself will not change.

In last year's general election, Sinn Féin narrowly won the popular vote, but failed to secure enough seats to win a majority and form an independent government.

All three major parties were then locked in discussions to form a coalition, but once the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the process needed to be hurried, which ultimately forced McDonald out of the running for Taoiseach.

But with support for Sinn Féin gatherings, particularly among Ireland's younger voters, she might not have to wait too long before she's back in the mix.