Fifty per cent of voters now feel there is a need for a new political party on foot of broken election promises and widespread disillusionment with the Government, a new nationwide opinion poll reveals.
An undeniable feeling of discontent among voters has fuelled calls for a new party to be established, while angry voters are calling for the Government to rein in excessive pay and pensions in the bailed-out banks.
According to the latest Sunday Independent MillwardBrown nationwide opinion poll, conducted this month, the desire for a new party is strongest among women voters, young to middle-aged voters and those living in Connacht and Ulster or from poorer backgrounds.
Former Tanaiste Michael McDowell, writing in today’s Sunday Independent, says that falling satisfaction with the Government and the fact that the coalition partners have “fallen out of love” are driving factors behind the calls for a new party.
“There is at least 25 per cent of the electorate which would opt for a new party as an alternative to another term for the present coalition and as an alternative to a Fianna Fail/Sinn Fein coalition backed by the remnants of Labour,” he said.
Mr McDowell is predicting that while FG will lead the next government he thinks Labour will not be in power with them, and there is room in the gap for a new party.
“I cannot see any possibility of an overall majority FG government after the next election. It seems to me that many people in middle Ireland would support the formation of a new party which would give Ireland the opportunity to have a new government which would not include the Labour Party,” he adds.
According to the poll, 38 per cent of voters feel there is no need for a new political party, with opposition to the proposal higher among males, those aged over 55 and Dubliners, with many feeling a new party would not be able to offer any real change, given the country’s financial woes and our electoral system.
If don’t knows were to be excluded, a majority of voters feel there is a need for a new party.
When asked what strategies the Government should prioritise in 2013, 50 per cent of those polled said they want the Coalition to be more assertive when dealing with the issue of “bankers’ pay, pensions and lending policies”.
The drip feed of revelations about activities at the top of the banks, which to date have received €64bn of taxpayers’ money in capitalisation, have fuelled calls for more decisive action from Finance Minister Michael Noonan from the elderly and voters outside Dublin.
Voters are also frustrated with the lack of progress in terms of progressing Ireland’s bank debt deal with 23 per cent saying the Government should adopt a tougher approach when dealing with the troika, as a top priority.
Speaking this weekend, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said once the IBRC promissory note is restructured ahead of the March 31 deadline, he is expecting agreement on a deal by June on the cost of capitalising the “pillar banks”.
Mr Kenny said a full deal is not likely until 2014 after the necessary European structures are in place, but a signal will be crucial to enable Ireland to exit the bailout at the end of 2013.
“So while an actual transaction may not be possible until 2014 a clear signal of how this is going to be done will certainly strengthen market confidence and lower interest rates for Ireland,” he said.
– DANIEL McCONNELL Chief Reporte
The survey puts Fianna Fáil as the second most popular party, a position it hasn’t held for more than two years.
Yet the Communications Minister says they cannot be taken seriously.
“I find it very difficult to take Fianna Fáil seriously, given that the major issue that confronts the country is economic recovery.
“I’d rather take advice on my tax returns from Mick Wallace than take advice from Fianna Fáil on the economy. I really don’t take it too seriously.”