Major Parties Shift Stance as Concerns Over Immigration Mount

In a notable turn of events, Sinn Féin, Fine Gael, and the Greens have retracted their staunch anti-immigration positions amidst mounting public apprehension over the escalating refugee crisis. Recent polling by IrelandThinks/Sunday Independent indicates a surge in support for Sinn Féin, with the party’s popularity now standing at 29%, up by three points. Conversely, Fine Gael’s approval rating dipped by two points to 19%, while Fianna Fáil’s remained unchanged at 16%.

Sinn Féin, previously a vocal critic of the European Union Immigration and Asylum Agreement, has shifted its stance, aligning more closely with the government’s support for the agreement. This reversal comes as the party’s social media channels have been flooded with content opposing open borders.

While smaller parties such as the Social Democrats, Green Party, Labour Party, and Solidarity-People Before Profit have maintained their support levels, there’s been a minor decline in Antu’s backing and a slight increase in support for Independents/Others, now at 19%.

Simon Harris, leader of Fine Gael, saw a rise in popularity despite a decrease in the party’s ratings. Notably, Harris closely trails behind Fianna Fáil’s Meehol Martin in approval ratings.

The public’s preference for a Sinn Féin-led government without Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil has grown, with 30% of voters expressing this sentiment, compared to 19% supporting the current frontline coalition. Immigration, cited by 41% of respondents, has emerged as a leading concern alongside housing, which 54% of voters identify as the country’s primary issue.

Reflecting on the refugee crisis, 39% of respondents fault the government’s perceived mishandling of the situation, while 35% attribute it to international conflicts and wars. Notably, all residents of Ireland, regardless of citizenship, have the right to vote in local elections, provided they are resident in the country at the time of the election.

To participate in elections, residents can register via the Check the Register website, with Dublin residents also having the option to register on Applications must be submitted at least 15 days prior to the election, with polling cards, containing essential voting information, dispatched by post. Voting takes place between 7 am and 10 pm at designated polling stations.

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