Sunday, January 27, 2013
Support for Irish Labour party falls to five-year low
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Support for Ireland's junior government party Labour has fallen to a five-year low, a poll showed on Saturday, as the European Central Bank dealt a blow to the coalition by rejecting its proposals in key bank debt talks.
The ECB spurned Ireland's preferred solution in protracted talks over how to reschedule part of its state-owned bank debt, EU sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters on Saturday.
Ireland wants to avoid making a politically-incendiary 3.1 billion euro (2.6 billion pounds) payment relating to the debt at the end of March, and failure to find a way around doing so would be especially difficult for centre-left Labour to stomach.
Labour, already under pressure over cutbacks spearheaded by Prime Minister Enda Kenny's centre-right Fine Gael party, saw its backing fall to 11 percent from 14 percent last month, the latest Sunday Business Post/Red C poll showed.
Fine Gael's support remained at a four-year low of 28 percent, although a separate opinion poll in the Sunday Times newspaper put it at 26 percent, down four points from the last time it polled voters. It also showed Labour on 11 percent.
The Sunday Times figures put Kenny's party just two points ahead of arch rival Fianna Fail, the traditional party of government that was booted out of power almost two years ago after being blamed by voters for Ireland's financial crisis.
Fine Gael has a more comfortable seven point lead over Fianna Fail in the Sunday Business Post poll while both surveys saw support for Sinn Fein, the one-time political wing of the IRA, at 19 percent.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Jon Hemming)