A senior Sinn Féin figure has denied the party deceived people by having members pose as representatives of a fake polling company.
Reports released in the media this morning state that a 77-page internal training manual gave members "detailed instructions" on how to pose as researchers working for a polling company to question voters and compile data.
The document said to ask voters about their intentions under the guise of the “Irish Market Research Agency” (IMRA), which does not exist, according to the Irish Examiner.
I don’t accept it’s deception
In response to the reports, Sinn Féin TD Eoin O'Broin told Newstalk radio that the polling was something the party had to do as it could not afford commercial polling at the time.
“When people call doing polling that is what they are doing, they are polling people voluntarily... and that polling data is used like all polling data,” he said.
“What I would say is thankfully because the party has grown, we are now able to employ professional polling companies, we don’t have to do this kind of activity anymore.
“But it is very, very commonplace, it has been around for very a long period of time, and I don’t accept it’s deception.”
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry has said the “gardaí should be consulted” over the reports.
“Shocked on one level, not surprised on another,” he told Newstalk radio in response to the media reports.
“I mean, this amounts to basic subversion of the public.
“As you said, provision of fake IDs to prescribe what lies people say on behalf of a political party is not normal political behaviour and I think that the gardaí should be consulted quite frankly on it.”