An opinion poll has claimed Fianna Fáil is more popular than Fine Gael for the second month running amid ongoing speculation about an election in late 2019 or early next year.
The latest Behaviour and Attitudes/Sunday Times poll, released on Saturday night, said Michéal Martin's party holds a four percent lead on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar - whose Government has faced a series of scandals in recent weeks.
According to the poll, Fianna Fáil is now placed on 30%, a rate that is up 2% on the June survey and the party's highest poll since November 2017.
Fine Gael is on 26% and has seen a 3% rise since the June poll.
Among the other parties Sinn Féin is placed on 14%, a 2% rise which shows a slim recovery from its disastrous local and European elections campaign which saw the party lose half of its councillors and return one of three MEP seats in the Republic.
The Green party has fallen 4% to now stand on 7%, indicating the Green wave may be dissipating amid ongoing divisions within the party about whether it should consider entering government.
Labour (5%) and Solidarity-People Before Profit (2%) remain unchanged from June, while the Independent Alliance has moved up 1% to 4%, the Social Democrats are unchanged on 1% and unaligned Independents and other smaller parties have fallen a combined 5% to stand at 8%.
The poll prediction that Fianna Fáil is now above Fine Gael for the second month running and is at its highest support since November 2017 comes as Fine Gael is facing cervical cancer, broadband, housing and other problems.
Both Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin said in separate media events this week that they are not planning to cause an election this year, due to the ongoing Brexit saga.
The Behaviour and Attitudes/Sunday Times poll -which has a 3.3% margin of error - is based on face to face interviews with 902 people in all parts of the country between July 4 and July 16.