Saturday, March 2, 2024

Sinn Féin needs to ‘examine’ slide in support in recent polls, TD says

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Kathleen Funchion said it is important for the party to ensure it is communicating its message correctly on core issues.

A survey for the Irish Times shows that Sinn Féin’s support has fallen by six points, to 28pc since last September.

The party’s support has fallen in the last five opinion polls, and from a high of 36pc in 2022.

Recent polls also show an increase in public concern over immigration issues, with one poll showing that the majority of people want tighter immigration rules in Ireland.

Sinn Féin appears to be losing out over its immigration policy, particularly with younger voters who are moving towards parties such as Labour and Social Democrats.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week In Politics programme, Ms Funchion, a TD for Carlow and Kilkenny, said: “I think the polls for us recently, obviously we do have to look at that. I think we need to be honest about that and we need to examine exactly why there has been a slippage.

“Obviously, we are still in a strong enough position in terms of, let’s say, the 2020 General Election. We are slightly ahead of that, however, I do think it’s really important for us to ensure that we are communicating our message correctly, particularly when it comes to housing, healthcare.”

She added: “I really do firmly believe we definitely want to be leading the next government and I think that that’s actually what this country needs in terms of the change that’s needed.

“It’s really important for us to work really hard to ensure that we are getting our message across because certainly in all of those sectors, whether it’s health, whether it’s housing, whether it’s children and people with additional needs, they’re all currently being failed and it’s really important that we are in a position to lead the next government because our country badly, badly needs change.”

Speaking on the same show, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee defended the government’s handling of immigration issues, particularly its decision to tighten its policies.

Last month, Ms McEntee announced new measures to add Algeria and Botswana to its list of safe countries, and to cut benefits for new arrivals from Ukraine.

“The reason that I’ve introduced the accelerated process is because we have seen that the vast majority of people coming from those countries have been refused but they have been refused because they’re coming for economic reasons,” Ms McEntee said.

“We know that we have people using the international protection system, that is genuinely there for people who are fleeing war, fleeing persecution, for economic means.

“So everything that I’m doing, introducing the accelerated process for safe countries, more than doubling the staff that we have in the IPO (International Protection Office), making sure that we move to electronic means so we can speed up the process, it’s to make sure that the people who shouldn’t be using the system are gotten out of it quickly, but that the people who genuinely need it can actually access support.”

She claimed that while the Irish public does not want the government to stop helping people, they want a better immigration system.

Labour TD Duncan Smith said immigration is an issue that is being raised by the public.

“It’s something that needs to be tackled head on at the doors and we have to let people know where you actually stand as a public representative on this issue,” he said.

He also said that public representatives have to “myth-bust” rumours that are being propagated by the far-right online.

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