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Sinn Féin, Fine Gael, and Greens Retreat from Anti-Immigration Position

Dublin: Sinn Féin is experiencing a surge in support as it adopts a firmer stance on immigration, coinciding with heightened public concern over the refugee crisis, according to an IrelandThinks/Sunday Independent opinion poll.

The poll indicates a three-point increase in Sinn Féin’s popularity to 29%, while Fine Gael’s approval rating declined by two points to 19%. Conversely, Fianna Fáil’s popularity remained unchanged at 16%.

Sinn Féin has emerged as a vocal opponent of the European Union Immigration and Asylum Agreement, contrasting with the Irish government’s endorsement of the agreement. The party’s anti-open border stance is underscored by a series of social media videos.

Support for other parties such as the Social Democrats (6%), Green Party (4%), Labour Party (3%), and Solidarity-People Before Profit (2%) remained steady. Meanwhile, support for Aontú declined by one percentage point to three, with Independents/Other gaining two points to 19%.

Simon Harris’s popularity within Fine Gael has risen despite the party’s overall decline in ratings. Harris’s approval rating of 4.3% places him closely behind Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin (4.6%). Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald follows closely with a rating of 4.0%. However, Justice Minister Helen McEntee’s approval rating on immigration issues experienced a significant drop to 3.3%.

The majority of voters (30%) express a preference for a Sinn Féin-led government, excluding Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, with only 19% supporting the current coalition. Additionally, 11% favour a Sinn Féin-Fianna Fáil coalition.

Immigration and housing dominate voter concerns, with 41% prioritising immigration, representing a 15-point increase compared to previous polls. Meanwhile, 54% of respondents identify housing as the country’s primary issue.

Regarding the refugee crisis, 39% attribute the lack of government action as the main cause, while 35% blame international conflict and war. The UK government is blamed by 13% of respondents, with 11% attributing responsibility to the EU.

In Ireland, all residents, regardless of citizenship, are eligible to vote in local elections if they are residents in the country at the time of the election. Registration can be completed through the “Check the Register” website or the voter.ie site for Dublin residents, using the eircode and PPS number. Applications must be submitted at least 15 days before the election, and polling cards are sent by post, specifying the polling station. Voting hours are typically from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on election day.

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