Support for Irish PM's party hits three-year high in poll

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 24, 2015 4:49 PM

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Support for the party of Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has hit a three-year high in one of the country's main opinion polls months ahead of a general election and following a budget of tax cuts and spending increases.

Kenny has until early April to hold a general election and he has said he is not planning to call it before the start of 2016, when many of the budget measures kick in.

Kenny's center-right Fine Gael has the support of 30 percent of voters, according to the Red C/Sunday Business Post poll, up from 28 percent in its last poll taken in September.

That is the highest level in the poll since October 2012 and the highest in any major poll since February last year.

But its center-left junior coalition partner Labour has seen its support fall by three percentage points to 7 percent, the poll showed.

The poll said center-right opposition Fianna Fail was up two percentage points to 20 percent, while left-wing nationalist party Sinn Fein was unchanged at 16 percent.

Adrian Kavanagh, a politics lecturer at National University Ireland Maynooth, estimated in a blog post that if Labour gets 7 percent in the election it might only get two seats.

Instead, his estimates of seat numbers indicated that Fine Gael might have to consider a coalition with one of its historic rivals, Fianna Fail or Sinn Fein, to secure a majority.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Richard Balmforth)