FINE GAEL is leading the way in a new opinion poll published as Ireland continues to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The party has emerged as the one with the most support among the general public according to a Business Post/Red C poll published just days after Leo Varadkar announced a new two-week nationwide lockdown.
It represents a remarkable turnaround for the party, nearly two months on from finishing third in the General Election behind Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil.
According to the Business Post/Red C poll, Fine Gael had 34% of the support from a poll of 1,000 participants, ahead of Sinn Féin which garnered 28%.
Those figures represent a 13% gain for Fine Gael while Sinn Féin rose 3%.
Contrastingly, Fianna Fáil suffered an 18% decline in support.
Elsewhere, there was a drop in support for smaller parties and independents.
Support for independents moved down from the 12% reported in the previous Business Post/Red C poll to 5%, while support for the Green Party went from 2% to 5%.
The poll was conducted between March 20 and March 25, just three days after Mr Varadkar’s State of the Nation-style address to the Irish public on St Patrick’s Day.
It comes seven weeks after an election which saw Fine Gael win 35 seats while Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil won 37 and 38 respectively. Sinn Féin has shelved its efforts to form a government during the Covid-19 crisis.
In recent days representatives from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have been locked in talks over a potential coalition government.
The two parties are due to meet next week.
Mr Varadkar, who is operating as a caretaker Taoiseach of sorts, has been keen to stress the Government’s focus is on the coronavirus emergency.
However, he did note that when time can be found, further negotiations over a coalition government would happen.
Any coalition would still require the involvement third party or additional independent TDs to reach the crucial 80-seat majority.