Varadkar believes current Government could be re-elected

Leo Varadkar said Sinn Féin members were 'strutting around Leinster House' as if they would soon become government leaders
Varadkar believes current Government could be re-elected

Vivienne Clarke

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said he can see the current Government being re-elected, after the latest opinion poll showed Fine Gael up two per cent and an increase of three per cent for Fianna Fáil.

The two parties have regained some ground against Sinn Féin since last year but remain well adrift of the main Opposition party, according to the latest The Irish Times/Ipsos opinion poll.

Mr Varadkar said Sinn Féin members were "strutting around Leinster House" behaving as if they would soon become government leaders.

He said that support across the coalition parties suggested that “this is a Government that could be re-elected. There's a narrative out there that it's inevitable that Sinn Féin will lead the next government.

“They're strutting around Leinster House, behaving like they're just waiting to get their ministerial seals of office. I don't think that's the case.”

Gain seats

Speaking on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show, Mr Varadkar said he knew that opinion polls did not predict election results and that he had never taken one opinion poll on its own "too seriously."

There were four different polling companies that carried out polls, all of whom had done a poll in the last month and in three of which Fine Gael support had gone up, he said.

“With an increased first preference vote, with the possibility of more transfers from Fianna Fáil than we would have got in the past, and a bigger Dáil, we would then be in a position to gain seats.”

In the latest poll, as well as seeing Fianna Fáil gain by three points to 23 per cent, Taoiseach Micheál Martin enjoys an eight-point jump in his satisfaction ratings to 51 per cent.

Mr Varadkar’s personal rating also increases, while Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald sees her rating, and that of her party, drop marginally.

But there is a sharp drop in support for third coalition leader and Green Party head Eamon Ryan, who also sees his party’s numbers fall.

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