Polls show boost for Sinn Féin, Irish unity

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An opinion poll has shown support for Sinn Féin in the 26 Counties has surpassed the combined vote of the two main government parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, for the first time.

The latest Business Post/Red C poll put support for Sinn Fein at 36 per cent, while Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael came in at 20 per cent, with just 15 per cent support for Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s Fianna Fáil.

The same poll showed overwhelming public opposition in the 26 Counties to the current government’s housing policy, despite a new plan to tackle the number of vacant properties.

A policy of allowing financial institutions and crony insiders to monopolise the housing market has sent house prices up by more than 15 per cent in a year. Rents have rocketed to unaffordable levels, leading to a new wave of emigration for young Irish people.

The odds on Sinn Féin taking the most seats in the next Irish general election, and Mary Lou McDonald becoming the next Taoiseach, have tumbled to 1/4.

Backing for the Green Party was at five per cent, ahead of the Social Democrats (four per cent), Labour (three per cent), People Before Profit-Solidarity (three per cent) and Aontú (two per cent). Support for independents stayed at 11 per cent.

Red C said Sinn Féin had stronger support among males (41 per cent) compared to females (36 per cent). But it was in the younger age categories where the party’s dominance was more apparent.

Sinn Féin now is the favoured party for 40 per cent of 18-34 year-olds in the 26 Counties, compared to 14 per-cent for Fianna Fáil and 13 per cent for Fine Gael.

But the strongest category for Sinn Féin was among 35-54 year-olds, where it found support of 43 per cent, compared to 16 per cent for Fianna Fáil and 12 per cent for Fine Gael.

INCREASED SUPPORT FOR UNITED IRELAND

A second poll published this week found that support for the Six Counties remaining under British rule is down, and that most people in the Six Counties believe Brexit has increased the chance of a united Ireland.

The 2021 results of the Life & Times survey show less than half of the population north of the border support the union for the first time, a decline to 48% from 54%.

More than one third (34%) would vote for a united Ireland tomorrow, and those publicly identifying as nationalist has jumped by almost a third, from 19% to 26%.

Of those surveyed, 63% said they believe Irish unification was more likely following Brexit, a rise of 5% from 2020.

The proportion who think the Ireland Protocol is “on balance a good thing” has also more than doubled to 33%, from 15% in 2020.

And only 29% support the British government’s legislation to end conflict-related investigations and prosecutions.

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