Decline in support for Fianna Fail, Lisbon II
Decline in support for Fianna Fail, Lisbon II

The Green Party has admitted that a snap election may have to be held within the next six months following a sharp decline in support for the 26 County government and the Lisbon II Treaty referendum.

Brian Cowen’s Fianna Fail and the much smaller Green Party forged a coalition government 18 months ago which has become the most unpopular in modern Irish history.

The poll revealed that three quarters of the electorate would like to see a change of government and shows Fianna Fail slipping to a record low of just 17 per cent.

Green Party chairman Dan Boyle said today that difficulties in “cleaning up” the banking system and public finances meant the probability of an election in the next six months is now “40:60”.

“Getting to January is going to be a challenge,” he said.

Government chief whip Fianna Fail’s Pat Carey said he was not surprised at the results of the poll.

He said that while poll is “bad” and “very disappointing” getting out of the serious crisis the country is in “is more important than popularity of any one political party”.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Michael Martin added that while the results of the poll are “very disappointing” they are “not surprising” in the context of the economic crisis.

However, Alan Shatter of Fine Gael, the largest opposition party, declared the coalition no longer had a mandate to govern the country.

He said: “I want an election, I think the general public wants an election. This government does not have a mandate to govern. It wasn’t elected on a policy prograame that envisaged the economic collapse that occurred.

“The real issue is decisions are going to be made between now and Christmas which are going to have a profound effect on the lives of people in this country,” he said.

Mr Shatter said there is a “very substantial possibility” of a general election before 2012 and if Fianna Fail had “any courage” they would call one now.

According to the poll satisfaction with the Government is running at just 11 per cent, with 85 per cent of voters expressing dissatisfaction with its performance.

When people were asked who they would vote for if there were a general election tomorrow, the adjusted figures for party support, compared with the last Irish Times poll in May were: Fianna Fail, 17 per cent (down three points); Fine Gael, 34 per cent (down two points); Labour, 24 per cent (up one point); Sinn Fein, 10 per cent (up two points); Green Party, 3 per cent (no change); and Independents/others, 12 per cent (up two points).


The same poll, conducted earlier this week, shows that support for Lisbon Treaty has fallen eight points, to 46%, since the last such poll in May.

With four weeks left to polling day, there has also been a large increase in the number of undecided voters, from 18% to 25%. The number of ‘No’ voters hasd increased its support, from 28% to 29%.

The poll points to another potentially tight result, with speculation that ‘Don’t Know’ respondents could turn out to vote against the Treaty. At the same point in the first Lisbon referendum last year, the ‘Yes’ side was even further ahead, only to lose in the actual vote.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny today urged people to use their Lisbon vote as “a vote for the country” rather than a protest against the coalition government.

Speaking ironically at Dublin’s GPO, the seat of the 1916 rising, he announced his party’s ‘Yes’ campaign and said the referendum is a defining moment for Ireland’s economic future.

“I strongly believe that Ireland’s best interests lie in this country remaining at the heart of an efficient, effective and democratic European Union,” he claimed.

“That’s what the Lisbon Treaty aims to create. Fine Gael will put the country first in campaigning strongly for a Yes vote in next month’s referendum,” he said.

Sinn Fein’s Aengus O Snodaigh said it was “no surprise” that Fine Gael should support such a right wing Treaty.

“It demonstrates, if any demonstration were needed, why a Fine Gael led government would be no different to the current Fianna Fail led government.

“Both are right wing parties, trading in outdated and discredited right wing policies, at the domestic and EU level.

“Contrary to Enda Kenny’s claim today that the Lisbon Treaty is essential to our economic recovery, ratifying this Treaty will make the recession worse. It contains many of the same right wing economic policies that have led Ireland and the EU into recession in the first place.”

Meanwhile, Republican Sinn Fein has attacked the screening of pro-EU adverts in cinemas. A spokesperson for RSF said that were demographically aimed at youth, a high percentage of whom voted “against the tightening of the EU’s grip”.

The advertisements claim that cinema seats are “comfortable” and confectionery is safe because of the European Union.

“One of them also claims that you don’t have to change currency any more because of the Euro,” the RSF spokesman said.

“Evidently they are blissfully unaware that there are two currencies in existence within this country alone.

This type of brainwashing and re-education by the ‘Yes’ side is sinister and flies in the face of a free choice on October 2. Thankfully the ads are that laughable that few are likely to be convinced by them.”

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