Chief whip plays down Coalition ‘kicking’ in polls

Government chief whip Paul Kehoe has dismissed the "kicking" in the polls for the Coalition and insisted the public are happy with new reduced water charges for households.

The Fine Gael minister was speaking after a Red C poll found support for Fine Gael has slipped by 4% down to 22%, while Labour remained at just 8%.

The Wexford TD said the opinion poll was taken prior to last week’s changes to the water charges.

“I’ve spoken to a huge amount of people over the last few days and they accept that the announcement brings clarity and certainty,” said Mr Kehoe. “People I’ve spoken to are happy with the announcement made by the Government.”

Such a poll result would leave Fine Gael with 41 seats in the Dáil, nearly half the number it won in the last general election, while Labour would be left with just five TDs.

The poll also indicated Independent TDs would get 45 seats in an election.

However, junior justice minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said a group of Independents would not be capable of governing.

Independent TDs were just “political commentators” and did not take responsibility for anything, the Dublin North TD told RTÉ’s Week in Politics.

Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen also said Independent TDs could not even agree on speaking time slots in the Dáil.

However, Independent TD Thomas Pringle strong disagreed, saying he and other non-mainstream party TDs were capable of entering government after the next general election.

Junior finance minister Simon Harris yesterday challenged opposition parties to spell out their alternative proposals to run the country.

“The opposition have had lots of opportunities to say what they are against,” he said. “They cannot tell us what they are for, perhaps because they cannot agree among themselves.”


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