March 7, 2019 / 7:03 AM / 9 months ago

Poll shows support for Irish PM Varadkar at lowest yet

FILE PHOTO: Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar speaks at a European Financial Forum event in Dublin, Ireland February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Support for Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has fallen to its lowest level since he came to power in June 2017 although he remained the most popular party leader, a poll for the Irish Times showed on Thursday.

Varadkar’s personal satisfaction rating fell to 43 percent from 51 percent in October and from 60 percent at the start of 2018, the Irish Times/IPSOS MRBI poll showed. Support for Varakdar’s Fine Gael party fell 3 points to 30 percent but remained the most popular party, the poll showed.

The approval ratings of the leaders of the two main opposition parties, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein, both also fell. Support for Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin fell 4 percentage points to 35 percent and that of Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald fell 7 points to 33 percent.

Varadkar plays a key role in difficult negotiations with the British government on the future of Ireland’s border with Northern Ireland as part of Britain’s planned exit from the European Union on March 29.

Varadkar’s position in the talks has received near unanimous support from opposition parties.

But his government has been under pressure to resolve Ireland’s housing shortage and was recently embarrassed by cost overruns for the planned new national children’s hospital.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Michael Perry and Raissa Kasolowsky

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