17% of people satisfied with Labour leader and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore
Support for the Labour Party has dipped below 10%, according to the latest opinion poll.
Independents and smaller parties have also lost ground, with Fianna Fáil benefitting.
The Millward Brown poll for tomorrow’s Sunday Independent also found that just one voter in five is satisfied with the Government’s performance.
The poll of 985 voters was conducted over ten days finishing last Thursday.
It will be published just two weeks since its last poll for the Sunday Independent.
There is a very high level of ‘undecideds’ – 32% – but when they are excluded, Fine Gael is up one to 25%.
While the slide in Labour support continues – the party is down two to just 9%.
Fianna Fáil is back in the lead, up six points to 29%; while Sinn Féin drops one to 20%; and Independents and others are down four points in two weeks to 17%
Just 20% – one in five – say they are satisfied with the way the Government is running the country; 74% are dissatisfied.
Among the party leaders, 26% are satisfied with the performance of the Fine Gael Taoiseach, 17% with the Labour Tánaiste, 36% with Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin, and 28% with Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams commented yesterday on an ‘appalling decline in everyday customer service’ that he has noticed throughout Northern Ireland. Adams first became aware of the slipping standards around September 2005, when a BBC receptionist didn’t look up from filing her nails after he read out a statement on final IRA decommissioning, and he says the situation has jut gone downhill from there.
‘It was a little thing,’ said Adams, ‘But I’d always found people in this province just couldn’t do enough for you. Everyone was always overly helpful, and wished you a cheery and enthusiastic goodbye whenever you left. That seems to have gone now.’
Adams went on to reminisce about visiting pubs, often with a large bag full of irregularly ticking clocks, which he enjoyed repairing as a relaxing hobby. ‘Nine times out of ten’ he found that drinks were on the house and the staff would very kindly back off into a corner to give him and his friends some privacy or leave the pub completely.
The Sinn Fein leader gave an example of how far standards of politeness have fallen in Belfast restaurants. ‘Just the other night someone spilled soup on my lap, and I barely got an apology or an offer to pick up the dry cleaning bill. But a few years ago I was out to dinner with a friend – I remember it was just before Christmas because it was very cold and my companion arrived wearing a balaclava to keep out the chill – and the waiter merely knocked over my glass of water onto the tablecloth and was so mortified he fainted. You just don’t seem to get that kind of dedication to good service anymore.’
Adams’ other gripes about modern Northern Ireland include the prevalence of car-clamping. For years, he parked pretty much anywhere he liked, and no-one would even go near his car, never mind think about a ticket. “And people don’t laugh so much either” he sighed, ‘I used to tell this joke; it started ‘A man walks into a bar…’ and people would be rolling in the aisles before I even got to the punchline. Nowadays it barely gets a titter…’
The only person he has found that seems to be bucking this trend is a loud burly pensioner, who in the past wouldn’t even give him the time of day, but now is never off the phone to him. Adams often wonders ‘who do we have to kneecap around here to get that bloody Paisley to bloody shut up?’
The group is reported to have seized control of an inter-dimensional portal and is now intent on hurling random antimatter artefacts at ‘symbols of Unionist oppression’ in our reality. Due to the catastrophic relationship between matter and antimatter, these could be anything from sachets of McDonalds’ discontinued ‘Mild Mustard Sauce’ to pre-remastering Phil Collins CD reissues, to destroy most of Belfast.
‘This group is totally misguided’ declared Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris. ‘not only in their retrograde nationalistic ideologies, but in their conflating of multi-dimensional quantum particle theory and the polarity between matter and antimatter.’
‘Even the likes of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness now acknowledge that the latest breakthroughs in string theory preclude any kind of trans-dimensional threat without a nearby black hole. And we are policing Swansea very thoroughly at the moment…’
NEUTERING DOESN’T work on every dog. Even though the undercarriage is gone, some continue to swagger around with that cock-of-the walk attitude, confident as ever.
Just like the bankers. They may have lost their “fundamentals” but that doesn’t stop them behaving like they still have them.
Right up to the bank guarantee, these blokes were strutting up before Oireachtas committees to insist: “Our fundamentals are sound.”
And we remember how people who are now in Government, but were in opposition back then, stormed away from those meetings, fuming.
They knew things were bad. They knew from their constituents that lending had dried up. They knew they were being spun a yarn.
But the bankers, oozing arrogance and condescension, insisted otherwise. We own them now, unfortunately. Right down to their shrivelled fundamentals.
Not that they seem to know it.
Yesterday, the bankers were under scrutiny again in the Dáil after senior public servants decided to tell them some home truths about their handling of the mortgage debt crisis. (Self-serving and delusional.) The Central Bank’s Fiona Muldoon was among them. Speaking at a Banking Federation conference on Tuesday, she told the pinstriped ones to stop acting like petulant teenagers and confront the issue.
Not surprisingly, the Opposition piled in behind her. If the bankers won’t face up to the consequences of their irresponsible lending, then the Government should force them to deal with people now unable to repay the loans.
He told the Dáil that, only the other week, he informed the Dublin Chamber of Commerce dinner that the banks weren’t doing enough. Oh yes.
Furthermore, the Government has regular meetings with the bankers through the Economic Management Council. And they’d be “well advised to sit down on a bilateral basis” and negotiate.
But they haven’t done it, chorused the Opposition leaders. Can the Taoiseach not see that? Did he not hear what Fiona said? She wasn’t the only one. John Moran, secretary general of the Department of Finance, also gave the bankers an earful.
But any day now, it seems, the fat cats will heed their Government masters and engage with the mortgage debt crisis.
That’s what the Taoiseach thinks. After all, he’s had harsh words with them, more than once.
One can only imagine the state of those poor bankers as they stumble across the road from Government Buildings for a hairshirt lunch in Patrick Guilbaud’s followed by an Armagnac or three for the nerves. “The regulator is barking very loudly, Taoiseach, and you are not listening to what is being said,” said the Fianna Fáil leader, a fluent canine speaker.
Shane Ross despairs for our trusting Taoiseach. Bankers can’t even lie straight in the bed. “They are involved in a policy to extend and pretend . . . denial, delay and deceit.” “Believe you me, Deputy Ross, they have been told in plain English what the requirement is,” insisted Enda.
But they don’t take advice, sighed an exasperated Ross. “You can’t treat these bankers as normal human beings.” Ate you alive, they will. Them and their phantom fundamentals.
Fianna Fáil is now narrowly ahead of Sinn Féin and well ahead of Labour, having gained a substantial level of support over the course of 2012.
Fine Gael has dropped a point since the last Irish Times poll in May while Labour is up two.
Satisfaction with the Government is down six points while the satisfaction of all the main party leaders has dropped. Taoiseach Enda Kenny is the most popular party leader.
When people were asked who they would vote for if a general election were held tomorrow, the figures for party support – when undecided voters are excluded – compared with the last Irish Times poll were: Fine Gael, 31 per cent (down one point); Labour, 12 per cent (up two); Fianna Fáil, 21 per cent (up four points); Sinn Féin, 20 per cent (down four points); Green Party, 2 per cent (no change); and Independents/Others, 14 per cent (down one point).
The survey was undertaken on Monday and Tuesday of this week among a representative sample of 1,000 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all constituencies.
The margin of error is plus or minus 3 per cent.
The core vote for the parties compared with the last Irish Times poll was: Fine Gael, 20 per cent (down three points); Labour, 8 per cent (no change); Fianna Fáil, 14 per cent (up two points); Sinn Féin, 14 per cent (down four points); Green Party, 1 per cent (no change); Independents/Others, 10 per cent (down one point); and undecided voters, 33 per cent (up five points).
The number of undecided voters at one-third of the electorate is very high, but it reflects the fact that the Government is just 18 months into its term and a general election is not regarded as likely for a long time.
The jump of four points in support by Fianna Fáil since the last poll at the end of May looks even more impressive when in the context of a seven-point increase since the first Irish Times poll of 2012, which was conducted in April.
Sinn Féin has slipped significantly since the last poll, which put it in second place to Fine Gael.
That poll was conducted near the end of the referendum on the fiscal treaty, and absence of the massive television and radio exposure it obtained due to broadcast rules for referendums has seen a decline in the party’s support.
There will be some relief in Labour that the steady decline in party support over the past two years has been halted with a modest increase of two points despite the negative publicity that surrounded the resignation of the party’s junior health minister Róisín Shortall.
Fine Gael has again slipped marginally, for the third poll in a row, but the party is still comfortably ahead of all other Dáil parties and not far off its general election performance.
The fact that there has been a marginal improvement in the combined support of the two Government parties may be some compensation for a serious decline of six points to 21 per cent in the Government’s satisfaction rating.
All of the party leaders in the Dáil have seen a decline in their satisfaction rating since June with the biggest loser being Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, who is down eight points.
The other party leaders in the Dáil have each dropped three points, with Mr Kenny the most popular party leader on the relatively low rating of 33 per cent.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has seen his rating improve by two points, but only to 12 per cent. His party, which remains stuck on 2 per cent, is still struggling to make an impact in the absence of Dáil representation.
Support for Independents and smaller parties has dropped by one point to 14 per cent.
THE PRACTICE of the Irish Government appointing senior judges must be ended if the public is to have any faith in a judiciary free from political or any other bias, Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has said.
“The sheer number of politically affiliated judges adds to an already embedded public perception of the judiciary is an elite to whom the law of the land does not apply equally,” the Sinn Féin deputy said.
The Donegal North-East TD said this view has been strengthened by perceived inconsistencies and poor sentencing decisions in a range of areas, including drug-related crime, domestic and sexual violence in particular. He said:
“Judicial independence requires that the judiciary must be independent of other branches of government. It is high time that the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board should be required to publish an annual report to include information on candidates who are selected for appointment.
Sinn Féin is calling for the establishment of a fair and accountable appointment and removal process for the judiciary that involves meaningful lay participation representative of the public interest.
“Sinn Féin believes that judicial independence is undermined by the current appointment process in the 26 Counties,” Deputy Mac Lochlainn said.
“The Judicial Appointments Advisory Board (JAAB) was established in the wake of the controversial appointment of Harry Whelehan as President of the High Court in 1994 and was meant to have removed sole discretion for judicial appointments from Government.
“However, there is still political involvement in the appointment of the judiciary as the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board merely provides a list of seven qualified candidates to the Government who makes the appointments of judicial office holders.
“Sinn Féin believes that appointment procedures should be transparent to enhance public confidence in the process.
“This Fine Gael//Labour Government promised to be a reforming government and put an end to the ‘jobs for the boys’ culture but, looking at their judicial appointments so far, it is clear many of their political cronies have received jobs from them.”
Mr Adams has previously said the scope of the convention should be widened, and after a meeting of Sinn Fein’s ruling council he repeated calls for it to be an opportunity for major reform.
A LOCAL man has threatened to starve himself to death in Gerry Adams’ Drogheda office.
Kieran Donnelly will meet officials of the Sinn Fein leader and Louth TD this Wednesday, stating that he is prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice for his beliefs.
‘What has happened to me over the past 15 years has been a life sentence in itself. I have a pocket full of medication to take away the pain,’ he said.
Kieran’s story concerns a legal matter dating back to the early part of the last decade.
‘I have tried to take my own life and was spiralling out of control and I contacted SOSAD and they have helped me,’ he continued.
He simply wants a resolution found to the case that impacts on him and which has done so for many years.
Living at The Green Door on the Dublin Road, Kieran is hoping Gerry Adams can build the path to solving his problems.
‘If the authorities don’t listen to me I’ll go on hunger strike in Gerry Adams’ office,’ he stated.
CONTROVERSY has erupted over Louth TD Gerry Adams’s Dail attendance record which was described last week as ‘ one of the worst of all our TDs’.
Figures compiled by the Irish Independent show the Sinn Fein leader was absent for one in four Dáil sitting days during the first half of the year, missing 17 of the 68 days on which the Dáil sat from January to the end of June 2012.
Ten of the days missed were Thursdays, ‘effectively giving the Louth TD a two-day week on a regular basis’. He missed 22 out of 99 Dail sitting days last year. And while the Dáil does not meet every Friday, it does have special monthly Friday sittings, of which Mr. Adams missed four in six months. Mr. Adams, who is paid €92,000 and claimed €48,000 in expenses last year, is almost always in the Dail on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to take part in leaders’ questions.