It has been revealed that Tánaiste Leo Varadkar used students posing as pollsters as part of his Dáil re-election bid.
The news was revealed this morning by the Irish Independent who stated that the fake pollsters also used fraudulent business cards. This is the latest incident in the fake polling controversy which has surrounded other Irish parties such as Sinn Féin, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin accused Fianna Fáil members of undertaking polling while posing as market researchers to which former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern stated was not correct.
It was revealed that volunteers and students from Young Fine Gael branches in universities were used to carry out polling in the Dublin west constituency, where Varadkar was seeking re-election to the Dáil.
An individual, who asked not to be named, who took part in the polling operation stated that they were given fake business cards which claimed that they were from the Political Research Association of Ireland, which is a fake organisation.
The individual added that they would be paid €50 for their work to which they claim was never given to them. Stating that all polling carried out by Fine Gael has been done through market research companies and private contractors, Varadkar’s spokesman said that the practice of using volunteers and paid students was discontinued after it was considered no longer to be appropriate.
An earlier report from the Irish Independent revealed that Sinn Féin, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party all admitted to conducting fake polling.
Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin admitted to surveying his constituents using a fake polling company before his election to the Dáil in 2016.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney confirmed that Fine Gael members partook in the same practise while describing it as “fairly common” and that there “wasn’t anything sinister” about it.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime, Bertie Ahern stated, “I remember clearly polling down and organised by our staff in headquarters. But it was never done on the basis of fake marketing companies. It was done by Fianna Fáil activists on a Saturday morning, but not doing it in the name of a marketing company,”.